If I could choose only one word to sum up ChristChurch London as a community, it would be the word ‘body’. It’s because I see my church not just as an organisation but as a living, breathing organism. One in which its members each serve their own distinct purpose, whilst being intricately and intimately connected to the others.
Sometimes, being a student in London – far away from family, friends and familiarity – can all too often leave you feeling much less like a useful and valued member of a community. Like one of those mysterious left-over pieces from what already appears to be a perfectly assembled flat-pack furniture set. It can often be hard to figure out where you fit in, or even if you’re needed at all.
Choosing to attend ChristChurch in my first week at university ended up being such a life-impacting decision, precisely because it was a church where I felt I could belong and contribute. From the start I was encouraged to be a part of what was going on, not simply on a Sunday afternoon but also throughout the week and across the city. Through Student Connect Groups, events and Sunday Serving Teams, I was able to go from simply being a spectator and observer of what was going on, to joining fellow ChristChurch students on the pitch as a player.
Whether it was my first taste of a curry on the famous Brick Lane, surrounded by a load of CCL students and close friends, a night of prayer and worship, or enjoying a rather exhausting game of rounders and a picnic in Hyde Park, student events were a great way of having fun and getting to know other students in the process.
My Connect Group also did a great job of cultivating real community and being a safe place in which we could grow as disciples of Jesus and help others to explore questions of faith. I know I benefited greatly from leaders who were willing to take the time to sit down and talk with me about some of the things I was finding difficult to handle as a new student.
And I guess you could say that in the same way that the body would not be able to survive without its vital organs, ChristChurch London would not be what it is without its serving teams. Being on the production team has helped me to use what I have to serve the church that I love, and also get to know other non-student members of the community.
The priority of helping people get stuck into life at CCL means that getting involved at is simple. Details about events are always being updated and made available via the ChristChurch website, on Facebook and on Sundays. Similarly, all the information needed to contact a Serving Team you may be interested in, or a Connect Group that is hosted near to where you live, is available on the Connect link on the CCL homepage.
I believe that every human being, on some level, wants to belong to something; and thankfully ChristChurch London is in no short supply of people eager to welcome anyone into the family. As such, there is always more room for others to get plugged in: communicating and sharing in the love and grace of God, together as a body. Connect Groups, events and Serving Teams are all a good place to start in doing just that. After all, there can never be such a thing as ‘too many’ warm hearts, open arms and helping hands!
Image: Orange Plug by Nic Walker, used under CC