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fresh expressions of church
church and the rest of life. They seek to be responsive to post modern
culture, being in touch with preferences for ambiguity and antiquity. They
engage with post modern instincts in the preferences for a multi media
approach. The preferences are to work in a way which is diffuse not
focused, created locally rather than remotely, operates contextually
rather than institutionally, makes use of the symbolic and the subversive
rather than didactic, and is open ended in style. This represents one of
the most thoughtful attempts to relate worship and culture. Thus they
have a profoundly mission based instinct operating behind their worship,
though at the same time numbers of groups are distinctly uncomfortable
with any aggressive or blatant evangelism, as too modernist, directive
and narrow.
The alternative worship (alt.worship) stream, because it is significantly
populated by people departing from existing church, contains a strong
desire to be different and is among the most vocal in its repudiation of
existing church. The firmness of this posture means it is less clear about 
its own self identity beyond what it is not, and so far its communities do 
not seem to have demonstrated long term stability. It is a cause of major
celebration when an alt.worship community lasts ten years.
Alt.worship groups can be criticized for lack of any ongoing engagement
with mission   either social involvement or evangelism. However, because
they tend to act more as a safety net for those falling out of existing
church, they genuinely find it difficult to act as a fishing net for those still
outside church. People in recovery from an institution are not the most
obvious apologists to invite others to join. As the movement endures there
are some signs that this imbalance is being addressed.
A story: Grace in Ealing, London
Grace began in 1993 when a small group decided to put on
some services that would be different from the usual at their
church. The major motivation was an increasing frustration
with a church culture that played music that would never be
listened to at home, used language that wouldn't be used
anywhere else, and a diet that had become over familiar and
often irrelevant. Church had become something that was
`done to us'. The intention was to seek to worship God in ways
and forms that used the cultural resources of the 1990s   the
native language of those participating.
One aspect of the Christian tradition that Grace has
rediscovered is contemplation. The overall feel of most

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