I once heard Graham Pulkingham who was minister of an Episcopal church in Houston, Texas, compare and contrast the ‘Church of the Spirit’ with the ‘Church of the Parish’. He described how he had experienced renewal in what was a relatively traditional Episcopal church which had little intention of changing. He had issued an open invitation to anyone who would like to meet informally for fellowship, Bible study and prayer to come to a meeting in the rectory.
Within a year or so this meeting became a ‘Church of the Spirit’. Here people were filled with the Holy Spirit and were able to minister the gifts of the Spirit. Within this fellowship new hymns of worship were learnt and other forms of creative worship were encouraged. Initially this had little outward effect on what was happening in the church building on Sundays, but gradually there came a time when those involved in the rectory fellowship became the majority, and then the new life began to flow into the church. Obviously, though, this had not happened without many problems.
In St Martin’s there were no groups meeting regularly to seek God in prayer, so we started one on a Friday evening in our home. For many months this consisted of the two of us, but as prayer was answered, others began to gather.