Belief: a creative exploration during afternoon tea

Every half term, we host a relaxed afternoon tea, designed to be a welcoming space for us to share not just with those who are regularly part of the church family, but our wider family and friends.

During the afternoon (3.30-5pm), tea, coffee, squash, and food (this month – scones, jam, and clotted cream; toast and jam; cake) is available, as well as opportunities to simply hang out and chat.

For those who want to explore our themes, there are also a number of optional activities to help us think about what is important to us – which may or may not include adhering to a religious faith.

No matter our faith background, we all have our own set of beliefs that draw together what’s important to us, and influence how we live. Have you ever tried to express them?

Today, we will have space to express them (privately) for ourselves… and, if you want to, to hold them in conversation with the historic belief-statements of the church

Timed activities:

Our afternoon tea runs 3.30-5pm

3:40-4.20: Optional Creative Writing Workshop led by local tutor Elaine Atkin using stream of consciousness writing as a way into developing poetry about your own beliefs.

4:25pm: Optional communion service in a side chapel, with space to share creative writing

Freeflow optional activities to help you explore

1. Food and drink – what underpins our choices?

As you eat afternoon tea, why not think about the ethical and values choices that inform what we serve? For example, meeting in a nut-free school, we need to avoid serving nuts to keep everyone safe. We try to offer a range of other free-from foods (do let us know if we’re not getting this right for you!). We try to buy fairtrade tea and coffee. And to minimise plastic waste. Are these things important to you?

2. Truth or Lies? – games to play

Why not have a go at Harry Potter Trivial Pursuits, to test your knowledge of one fantasy world.

Or challenge those on your table to a couple of rounds of Absolute Balderdash – where each person makes up a definition for an obscure word or phrase… and then you all try to guess which is the real one.

Some Balderdash explanations of Nurdle. The real answer comes from the world of tiddly winks… “To shoot (a wink) into a position too close to the pot to be easily potted.

3. Belief Banner and Playdoh

Get artistic, creative, poetic, and add to our display of beliefs, perhaps writing “I believe” or crafting or reflecting on one of these questions:

  • What is important to you?
  • What gives you hope?
  • How do you know when things are true?
  • How often do you need reminding about what’s important?

4. Listening Post

Dip into our youtube playlist of music and spoken word featuring beliefs – from a Latin chant of the historic creeds, to contemporary spoken word. Catch up on the whole playlist here if you missed any:

Background and Further resources

Shared beliefs in an ecumenical church

Here at Pathfinder Church, we gather from all Christian traditions and none (this is called “ecumenism”). We are supported by the Church of England (where both Revd Beth and Stephen are priests), working closing with other denominations who are part of Churches Together:

Churches Together in England unites in pilgrimage those Churches in England which, acknowledging God’s revelation in Christ, confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures, and, in obedience to God’s will and in the power of the Holy Spirit commit themselves:

* to seek a deepening of their communion with Christ and with one another in the Church, which is his body; and

* to fulfil their mission to proclaim the Gospel by common witness and service in the world

to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Churches Together Basis of Faith

The Historic Creeds: a common starting point

This information is quoted from the national Church of England website:

From the earliest days of the Church, Christians developed short, simple summaries of the faith. These short statements became known as creeds.

The word ‘creed’ comes from the Latin word credo, meaning ‘I believe and trust’.

Two creeds in particular were developed in the early centuries of the Church, which have remained important to the Church and are regularly used in our worship today.

People who were preparing for baptism in the early centuries of the Christian Church learned a short summary of what Christians believe. One version became accepted as the Apostles’ Creed, because it was thought to include the essential teaching of the 12 apostles, Jesus’ earliest followers. It was into that faith of the apostles that Christians were, and are, baptized.

The Apostles’ Creed is therefore a summary of what the Church teaches, and of what Christians together believe, rather than a detailed statement of individual and personal belief. Saying the Creed binds Christians together as a believing community, across different traditions and practices.

As we say the Creed, we join Christians past and present, and from all over the world, in proclaiming our common faith.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed is a more detailed summary of what the whole Church believes about the great doctrines of the Christian faith. It begins with the statement: ‘We believe …’ The Nicene Creed uses the same threefold structure as the Apostles’ Creed but goes into more depth and detail. It was first adopted at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 by a gathering of bishops.

Read The Nicene Creed

‘Great is the Lord and highly to be praised;
his greatness is beyond all searching out.
One generation shall praise your works to another
and declare your mighty acts.’

Psalm 145.3-4

Despite the divisions within the Church that have happened over the centuries, all the major Christian traditions continue to acknowledge the words of the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed in their worship and teaching.

Every time we come to say the creeds it is vital to reflect and remember how it is that we come to believe them. It is by the grace and mercy of God that we have come to faith and are able to say and explore these words. It is not through human cleverness or ingenuity. God has revealed himself through the Scriptures. God has revealed himself most clearly through the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ. God makes himself known personally to each believer through the work of the Holy Spirit.

“Jesus is Lord” – how we revisit one of the earliest Christian Creedal Songs

Here in Northstowe, when our services are being led by Anglican priests, we use one of 12 authorised Affirmations of Faith or Creeds in some part of the gathering – perhaps sung, spoken, or interacted with on one of the stations.

We often use an interactive chant version of a biblical song sung by the early church, recorded in the letter to the Philippians 2.6-11 (also known as creed E9).

(gradually getting quieter)
Equal with God:
Jesus is Lord
Emptied himself:
Jesus is Lord
Came as a slave:
Jesus is Lord
Found as a man:
Jesus is Lord
Humbly obeyed:
Jesus is Lord
Went to his death:
Jesus is Lord
Death on a cross:
Jesus is Lord

(getting louder)
God raised him up:
Jesus is Lord
Gave him the name:
Jesus is Lord
Higher than all:
Jesus is Lord
Every knee bow:
Jesus is Lord
All tongues confess:
Jesus is Lord
Words: Michael Perry © Mrs B Perry / Administered by The Jubilate Group,
4 Thorne Park Road, Torquay TQ2 6RX, UK used by permission

Read more about what is shared and what is distinctive about the beliefs of our partner churches

print outs of some of these resources were available during the afternoon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.