I’m currently sitting on a train returning back to The Shire from a meeting of trustees for Transcendence, the governance that makes Sanctum happen. We have been planning for the year ahead and then beyond into the future. As I reflect on the recent development of Sanctum, it is strange to think that the main event we hold each year is about to have it’s fifth birthday. And now, Sue is planning for her second year of worship consultancy. It still feels strange to think about how I’ve strangely ended up being a trustee of Transcendence, “employing” Sue. She is one of the earliest pioneers of Alt:Worship and literally “wrote the book”.
My first experience of Transcendence was meeting Sue Wallace at Greenbelt in 2010 in the Jesus Arms pub. Transcendence was the Alt:Worship service she helped pioneer at York Minster. When we met, I had been involved with running Alt:Worship services for about a decade in the church I attended before ordination. It went on to become the main focus of my post graduate studies at theological college. Back at the turn of the millennium in the North of England, Alt:Worship felt very much on the edges of the church with little sense of belonging to something wider. Then something dramatically changed towards the end of that decade. The internet exploded and we entered into a world of social media.
Our experience of leading worship at Greenbelt came about through Simon Rundell as part of his work then with Blessed. We met Fr Simon through twitter and organised everything through modems until he arrived on our doorstep a week before Greenbelt to do a dry run. Simon asked Ruth and I with our band Metanoia to provide the background for the mass in The Big Top. And then Eddie Green dragged us off to meet Sue.
This experience quickly cemented us into a much wider community of Alt:Worship practitioners from all over the country. Together we have been crafting creative liturgies in our own communities as we explore contextual mission.
For the last decade, Metanoia and Rock Mass have continued to grow and develop at Holy Nativity in North Halifax. New people have become part of the community or in some cases, part of the band. Through this loose network of like minded people, Ruth and I have been helped to walk into the unknown. A group of disciples sharing both joys and sorrows as we become the church of tomorrow.
Strangely, a few years later I now find myself a trustee. We approach the future with high hopes for how this network of practitioners and Sanctum will develop in the coming years. I long to see a renewed vigour across the church for Alt:Worship and creative liturgy that draws people into the presence of God. Sanctum is becoming a melting pot of creative ideas, especially the group on Facebook with nearly 500 members. Sanctum 2020, the event is shaping up to be brilliant on August 4th-6th 2020. And this year there is the development of Sanctum South at Sarum College on 3rd-4th of February.