Alternative Worship

Alternative Worship

Duncan Macleod

Alternative Worship ∆ choice web sites(Notes by Duncan Macleod)There are alternatives to formal and charismatic styles of worship! In the UK in particular a network of small Christian communities has grown, with a shared interest in exploring new and creative contexts for worship. Most have a concern for cultural relevance to a people from a “post modern” (pomo) or Gen X background. Some work with the dance culture found in raves and night clubs. Others centre on the more relaxed atmosphere found in the typical English pub. Many of these alt. worship scenes are small.

Not on the internet:

Joy in Oxford, made known by Pete Ward in his book Worship and Youth Culture.

Parallel Universe in Auckland (Mark Pierson at Cityside Baptist, Mt Eden).

Caf≥ Church in Glebe, and Plunge, in inner-west Sydney.

Here’s a few alt.worship communities that are online:

Graceway, Ellerslie, Auckland out the art exhibition organised by this NZ alt worship community.
Soul Outpost, Dunedin, New Zealand is part of Mike Riddell’s home page, hosted by Jen Long, both recently members of Parallel Universe.
The Other Late Late Service, (TOLLS) Adelaide, Australia each month this group celebrates a Community Meal, a midweek caf≥ meeting calledThinking Out Loud, a contemplative service, a Nature Service – a walk in the bush with God, and The Late Late Service ∆ a 9 pm combination of creative ritual and physical spirituality, exploring faith through the media of contemporary culture.
Late Late Service, Glasgow, ScotlandThis is the community that inspired TOLLS. It’s a community of around 50 people committed to living out their faith in art, action and worship, they are an ecumenical group attached to our local branch of the World Council of Churches. Words, music, beliefs, photos from LLS can be seen on the following Greenbelt site.
Greenbelt Alternative Worship page, the large Christian music and arts festival in the UK, regularly features alternative approaches to worship. On this site you’ll find the why behind it all, and a helpful list of UK alt worship websites.
Alternative Worship ∆ Frequently Asked Questions in here for hints on using video and music, developing prayer, use of technology in worship, book reviews, music and books for sale, and contacts with alt worship communities around the world.

Alternative Worship Email Discussion List

You could join the mailing list for discussion of practical issues surrounding “alternative worship” ∆ ideas, inspirations, experiments, failures. Send the message subscribe to

Nine O’Clock Service, Sheffield Nine O’clock Service started life as an experimentally worshiping youth congregation,and later became a ‘theologically experimental Anglican congregation’. Its style of worship reached a whole new form of church goer, and provoked similar services world wide. The worship community blew apart in 1995 when corruption in the leadership was revealed in the British press. The Nine O’Clock Community is starting up again, rebuilding in the ashes of this brilliant fire. The site above reviews the resources, the highlights and the environment in which NOS collapsed. Worth a look.
Epicentre epicentre network is a group based in the Battersea/Clapham area of London.

It provides a range of opportunities and activities including art exhibitions, cabarets, seminars and workshops, parties and holidays, creative worship and music, internet discussion and communication.

Ginghamsburg Methodist Church, Tipp City, Ohio, USA’s senior minister, Mike Slaughter, is becoming well known for his book and CD,Out On The Edge - A Wake-Up Call For Church Leaders On The Edge Of The Media Reformation. The book outlines the change strategy implemented by Ginghamsburg Church in its integration of multimedia into the worship celebration. The CD-Rom enables you to meet the members of the Worship Design Team, examine their methods and sample their work. Just released (in April 1999) are the book and CD, The Wired Church, making Media Ministry, by Len Wilson. Len hosts an email discussion list on multi media and worship.
Holy Joes Joes is a group of Christians who meet on a Tuesday evening in a pub in Victoria, London. There is a varied programme incorporating debate, discussion, worship, bible study and workshops. The most well known member is Anglican priest Dave Tomlinson, author of The Postevangelical.
Mars Hill Fellowship ∆ First Presbyterian in Seattle it or not there are some Americans into this alt.worship scene. This site, featuring a small group of Gen Xers, is a useful entry point for USA alt. Worship networks. Warning though: there are lots of large images that take time to download
Visions, York associated with the charismatic Anglican St Michael-le-Belfrey, Visions tends to combine dance music and bold visuals in their upbeat worship. The site features fascinating material on visual arts, musical arts, spirituality, social involvement, video loops, and interactive prayer ideas.
Iona Community in Scotland Community was formed by George MacLeod, (no relation of mine that I know of), a Presbyterian minister based in Glasgow. The island of Iona is associated with a strong movement to link work and worship. Wild Goose Resources, associated with Iona Community, have provided many valuable songs and prayers for worship throughout the world.
Taize in France ecumenical, international community was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger. The site, in 14 languages, keeps you in touch with the weekly young adults meetings in Taiz≥, and gives hints on preparing prayer, sound clip, and meditative singing.