How does a diverse group of people come to be gathered round a large table in an east London cafe discussing and debating the words of Jesus?
The Contextual Theology Centre works with many excellent churches. But when we decided to develop a new bi-monthly Bible study series, we wanted to find a space which wasn’t traditionally used for that kind of activity.
We considered various options before settling on the idea of taking our Bible study on tour around the various communities we work in. Nowhere was off limits. We aim to visit libraries, community centres and even parks (weather allowing!) But the first two studies have taken place in two of our favourite cafes.
The October study considered Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well and took place at Kahaila cafe on Brick Lane. Surrounded by their exquisite coffee and cakes, we discussed the meaning of this incredibly poignant and important passage.
December’s study took place this week at Cafe Verde in Limehouse. Staff from the centre were joined by a wide variety of people including a couple of parish priests and some Muslim school-pupils who were on work experience with one of our partner charities.
Led by the Centre’s Faith in Public Life Officer, David Barclay, we studied a less well-know parable – that of the Shrewd Manager.
Having read the passage together, we broke into groups to discuss our perspectives on the story, and how it might apply to our day-to-day lives. The economic implications of Jesus’ words were debated and we discussed whether the ‘rich man’ mentioned in the passage may in fact have been the contemporary equivalent of a banker or City trader.
Being in a ‘real’ environment rather than a place of worship means there’s a real buzz to the studies, and there always seems to be plentiful coffee and excellent food on offer. We’d love you to join us for future community Bible studies.
The next Community Bible Study – held on the first Monday of alternate months – will be on 4th February at 12 noon at a cafe in Forest Gate. Full details on our events page shortly.