Out in the small rural town of Cooyar is the St Andrews Lutheran congregation. They may seem like your normal church, but for the past two years they have done things a little differently.
“Before the service you are welcome to have a beer or a wine or a soft drink or whatever you like. During the service if you happen to get a bit of a dry throat you can have a sip of your drink, and with the meal after you share a drink.”
Don’t worry, this isn’t a description of your normal Sunday morning service, but of St Andrew’s home service, held once a month in the evening, described by chairman Wayne Schefe.
“We take it in turns going to each member’s house,” Wayne explains. “The evening entails a short service of bible readings, address, and prayer, followed by a dinner. The main idea of the night is probably fellowship, more than the service.”
Wayne says that on a standard Sunday morning average attendance is 12 -14 people, but home service attracts 20 – 30 people each month.
“Probably the best thing about it is that with five of the guys, the only time we see them at Sunday morning worship is for Easter or Christmas, but those guys never miss a home service.
We discuss the problems of the world after the service as we have dinner, and some of the discussions are just very funny,” Wayne says. “But we also talk about things that matter to us as primary producers and its just a more relaxed environment. I think it’s the fellowship that people really love.”
Wayne’s advice for other congregations wanting to start something like this is simple.
“Keep it nice, relaxed and friendly, and don’t be afraid to have a laugh!”