‘Church cannot be contained within four walls. Church is lived out in the everyday interactions of christians learning together, sharing with each other and caring for each other. A community that is united by their pursuit of knowing God.’Restore Project
In many ways the seeds for the ‘ingredients’ of the Global Potluck were planted six years ago, when my friend Artist and Designer, Shelley Poole discovered me in an article online about one of my wildest but most fulfilling creative endeavours to date. Reaching out to me on Facebook, Shelley invited me to visit Australia to share the story of a public exhibition of christian art I had curated with a group of Adventist artists in my home city, Birmingham, UK. It was through this connection we learned not only of our shared passion for artistry and ministry, but the power of global connectivity to open up worlds of inspiration.
After my brief visit to Australia, our friendship grew as every so often we would catch up to open up our creative worlds to share knowledge, ideas and people we were drawing creative inspiration from in the Adventist church and beyond. To this day we marvel at the way God connect us and how this connection could be sustained across oceans on time zones through the use of digital technology and over the years, we have continued to dream together about what might be possible if we were able to truly platform and resource the abundant creativity in our church and use it as a means to open up authentic dialogue about the gospel.
One of the biggest things I have learnt through this connection with Shelley is that when things become stagnant and unfulfilling in my local church, when I can’t see God moving in my locality and I am ready to throw in the towel on anything church related, God is actually reminding me that He is not boxed in and we are all part of something much bigger. If we can learn to look further afield and recognise the diversity of our global community, He will always show us a new thing. He is always working in ways and means we misunderstand through people we overlook who are often on the margins. All we have to do is open our minds, our eyes and our hearts to guidance of the holy spirit and He will be there to restore you through beloved community.
Fast forward to today we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic that has revealed the fragility of our systems and exacerbated the underlying systemic injustices. Our church has not been exempt from these challenges as the ongoing emergency continues to call our deeply known ways of being together as a church into existential question. With mass gatherings in person prohibited across much of the globe, the truth of church being something that is beyond the building or Sabbath morning services continues to be tested and experienced in many different ways.
The Global Potluck as a concept was born out of a conversation I had with Shelley about this reality. We recognised that we are living through this extended period of time between church as it was once known and no longer is and church as it not yet is – church to be redefined. While this uncertainty brings much grief and anxiety, we have all seen and experienced beautiful and creative expressions of church many of which have been borne of this period in time, while others have been going long before the pandemic and have become even more relevant. The motive of the Global Potluck is to bring together the people behind these expressions through regular online gatherings, so that we can all partake and be re energised. We want to create the conditions for many more global connections like the one myself and Shelley have so more mightbe able to see and experience the many creative ways that God is moving in these turbulent times.
Global Potluck started off as an idea for a global festival to take place over 3 days featuring talks, workshops, creative interventions and more but has grown gradually into something deeper and more interesting, the story of which we will share in the blog posts that follow.