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fresh expressions of church
group is their ecclesial community. This will also be true for people
attending traditional midweek Eucharists. Increasingly clergy are
accepting this situation, and are learning not to regret it, but to build
upon it.
A story
35
A priest inherited a Wednesday morning Eucharist, drawing
only ten people. However, it began to grow, and some of
those attending never came on Sunday. The priest confronted
his prejudices:
`While I was fighting a rearguard action to keep Sunday
special, the Holy Spirit had danced ahead of me and was
blessing Wednesday. Here, without my properly realizing it,
was a church plant . . . that not only provided a place for a
new worshipping community to develop, but also had within it
people who felt so comfortable and nourished . . . that they
were getting on with evangelizing their networks and bringing
people to faith.'
Having realized where the Spirit was at work, he put more
resources into preaching, some singing and providing
refreshments. Once a month they went to the vicarage for a
nurturing house group. By the time he moved on, the original
ten attenders had become 30, a third of whom never came
on Sunday.
new Sunday multiple congregations
The idea of multiple congregations on a Sunday has been rejuvenated in
the last few years. Churches that are no longer able to fit their growing
congregations into one service have explored this route, as have those 
who deliberately want to widen the variety of worship that is offered, in
order to connect with a more diverse range of people.
36
These are attempts
to establish multiple congregations, not simply multiple services. Multiple
congregations are where the same building is used at different times on
Sunday (or on different days of the week) by separate groups, who are 
part of the one church in that place, but who function for worship, support,
leadership and mission as distinct congregations.
church planting understanding can help
Whether a multiple or midweek meeting is `church' depends in part on how
those who go to it view it. Do the people who attend consider it to be their
main way of going to and being church? If people who attend see that time
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