Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Is Revive Queer?

Posted: May 16, 2016 by reviveleeds in Decision Making, Leeds, News, Opinion, Prayer, revive, Uncategorized

‘Seriously, this is the queerest church I’ve ever known!’

Queer Church Welcome

This was undoubtedly an unreserved compliment, coming as it did from an LGBTQ+ activist. It was said last night at revive. It was also a challenge that we do more than accept our queerness; that we embrace it, celebrate it, publicly declare it.

Queerness here is not exclusively about sexuality or gender identity; it is, as they say, a state of mind. Last night we were reflecting on what God has been saying to us over the 24 weeks since we decided to pray together about our future. One of the queerest things about revive is how allergic we are to success, fame and power. As we started to talk about what we felt God was asking us to do collectively, it seemed so important that whatever we do, it be independent of revive and have not even a whiff of empire about it.


And not queer as in weird (although it’s that too). Queer as in a self-conscious swimming against the flow of normality, fully embracing the conflict, ostracisation and adventure that this entails. Jesus was so, so queer.

The gospel is queer: the religious find themselves judged and the unclean ones are welcomed to the party. No one gets what they ‘deserve’. As Bono puts it,

…at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, so you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.

It’s queer.

Now this isn’t exactly what we were talking about last night, but it’s relevant, because really what we were circling around most of the evening but scared to say out loud is this, ‘Is God calling us to be publicly queer? To offer that upside-down welcome that celebrates the returning scoundrel son and leaves the faithful son feeling resentful and indignant?

Queerness invites scapegoating. To be different is to draw unnecessary attention to oneself. ‘Why are you being different? Why are you causing trouble? Do you think you’re special? Well take it from us, you’re not so special, you’re heading for a fall. And if you don’t fall, we will try to trip you.’

Steampunk SimonHaving been to a few Steampunk Markets in my time, I know how uncomfortable queerness can be when you’re straight. Here is the best Edwardian getup I could muster, but I was without goggles so even when I tried to be weird, I just couldn’t quite fit in. However, my steampunk friends welcomed my efforts at welcome/acclimatisation, and I got an amazing insight into the powerful sense of community that is generated when the freaks and geeks come together in safe space. The outsiders become insiders…

Is God calling us to be queer? I believe so. And not just in our disavowal of so many of the accoutrements of church: power, structure, ‘leadership’, unity through rational assent of approved doctrine. Many of us feel excluded from mainstream church because of these values and others. But can we go the next step and find ways to welcome those who feel excluded by the church because of their sexuality or gender identity? Those who are in effect doubly queer? Can we use our experience of finding ‘home’ in revive to offer ‘home’ to those who have the experience of the church door shutting in their face? Sometimes literally.

I believe we can. As was made very clear last night, this is not about a project, about an individual or a group being sent off to ‘do church for the gays.’ This is about our whole community embracing a call to radical hospitality. It means moving on from being a recovery community for ex-Christian followers of Jesus in order to make space for those who need the gospel just as much as us but hear only that they are not included.

It feels appropriate to finish by quoting Pink Floyd, through whom God spoke to me a couple of years ago. This is our gospel:

Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!


Calling all women!

Posted: January 17, 2013 by reviveleeds in Events, Learning, News
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Revive member Giselle Shaw is organising a trip to the New Wine Women’s day on 16th March at Harrogate Conference Centre. There will be worship, teaching from Ele Mumford (posh but godly nonetheless, apparently) and ministry, and apparently a trip to Betty’s…

If you’d like to go, contact Giselle at

ADVENTurous is just round the corner

Posted: November 23, 2012 by reviveleeds in Events, Leeds, Left Bank, News
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Please pass this on!

The Narnia Experience Lives!

Posted: November 12, 2012 by reviveleeds in Events, Leeds, Left Bank, News
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We now have an official website, which means 99% of the work is done and we can all sit back and wait for Christmas 2013…

Come and see an old, old friend…

Posted: November 2, 2012 by reviveleeds in Events, Left Bank, News, revive
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Noel Moules has been a great friend of revive’s and a background influence. He’s bald, bearded and silvery, but he’s like Brian McLaren in other ways too – he is someone overflowing in love and positivity. I’m just about to start reading his book Fingerprints of Fire, Footprints of Peace and I know I’m going to find it challenging in too many ways!

Noel has kindly agreed to have the northern launch of his book at Left Bank on the 7th December. You can find the details here:

Come along, the event will be fantastic! One of the main purposes of the book is to make the message of Jesus accessible to people who aren’t from the Christian tradition, so it would a great event to bring an open-minded friend to.

Business Meeting Summary

Posted: October 14, 2012 by reviveleeds in News, revive
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Here’s a quick summary of our meeting on the 7th October. It’s not the official minutes, which will be posted here soon, it’s just my recollections.

I felt the meeting was really positive and enthusiastic (from en (in) and theos (God)). I talked about the people that I have got round to see so far (I’ve seen a couple more since – I hope to see everyone eventually!) and said that there were two emphases in terms of how people wanted revive to grow: to reconnect with God together and with our heritage of creative worship, and to be more available to new people.

Our first step has been to reconfigure our meetings a bit, so that Sundays are generally something we can all do. Film nights seem to be very popular, and we agreed that we would find a way of making them more ‘public’ (although it’s very expensive to show a film in public…). Our food/fellowship/pray nights were felt to be a great way of including the whole family, so we agreed to have them at 4pm once a month. The first one will be next week! The book group has been really great for those of us (myself included) who love to get into things in a fairly intellectual way, but it’s a bit of a marmite thing and some people just don’t engage with God in that way. So we took the decision to make it a midweek group, and see if we can use the two freed up Sundays every month to get intimate with God and creative in how we do that… That may mean we don’t need to have six days away a year – maybe three and a weekend?

Here we all are hard at work drinking.

We now have a variety of fortnightly groups that meet during the week. I’ve suggested that each group has a ‘connector’ person; how the group is led is up to the members. The connectors can meet occasionally to, er, connect. We’ll have a free market for midweek groups: anyone can start one up and we’ll see what survives! (In the calendar on this site I’ve added James and Jez’s group, which isn’t technically a revive group, but is full of revive-y people…)

In terms of making revive more accessible, we talked about the film nights, about Cafe Theologique and about something like Alpha that was perhaps slightly more open to the questions and needs of those that came to it.

The big question is who’s going to do all of this – I can’t do it all on a day a week. If each different bit of revive had a connector/organiser, that would make a big difference. We’ll try to work that out over the next few weeks. But the truth is that if we don’t all share this we will probably end up doing the bits for ourselves, and not the bits for others.

SO… it was a great meeting and I’m really excited to be working for you all again! See you soon!

Much love,


News: ADVENTurous

Posted: September 26, 2012 by reviveleeds in Events, Left Bank, News
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In December we are having another Advent art exhibition. This time we’re teaming up with Si Smith, Gav Mart in Wales and the Uni0n Chapel in London and calling the whole event ADVENTurous. A blog has just started:

The private view will be on December 2nd, so get that date in the diary. Also, we’ll be looking for everyone to contribute a session of ‘invigilation’, i.e. staffing the exhibition in the first few weeks of December.

It’s going to be great!