It all started with pop tarts… they popped up on our television screens and popped out of our toasters. And since then, we’ve got pop-up shops, pop-up restaurants and now at Littleport & East Cambs Academy we have Pop-Up Church! We’re very grateful to Principal Mr Gaskins and his team for allowing us use of a classroom on Friday lunchtimes to meet with pupils and chat about all things, churchy or otherwise. Called Pop- Up Church, there’s a floor standing pull up banner and the room we use overlooks the dining hall. For the pupils it is entirely voluntary, simply something to go to in their lunchtime if they wish. Attendance has been very encouraging and meeting the pupils has been a real privilege.
So what happens in Pop-Up Church? So far, we’ve had the jaffa cake challenge (the school’s new carpet suitable covered) where you eat the whole of the jaffa cake except the circle of orange jelly. You then stick the jelly to your forehead. Not quite sure about the forehead part, but the point is that the Christian gospel is as much about what’s on the inside of a person, hidden perhaps, as it is about the outside. We hide what we’re not proud of, but we hide also aspects of our lives which we think are of no value, but the Gospel says otherwise.
We’ve built an obstacle course and contestants had to navigate a football through the course; there were dead ends, easy parts and a choice of routes, the point being that the course resembled life itself. One of the adults there that week was Keith, one of our licensed lay ministers. Keith is a former Grade 1 football referee. Keith has reffed the big London clubs like Spurs and Arsenal and the pupils could ask all about what that was like.
There was also the challenge of who could build the biggest structure from playing cards. Great fun. We chatted about the foundations needed for building and the sort of foundations we need for the joys and challenges of life.
Future guests will be a polar explorer, an ex-MI6 employee, a couple of professional musicians and I hope the Bishop of Ely, Bishop Stephen, will be able to drop in too.
Here in Littleport we are hugely privileged to have so many contacts and opportunities; they just seem to pop up when we least expect it. I guess just like the birth of Christ – many people were looking for the Messiah, but didn’t expect Him to appear quite like he did. Over the coming weeks there will be many opportunities to engage with the Christian gospel of hope for the world and I hope you can take great encouragement from them. I realise that for some, Christmas is especially difficult, but there are people available to discuss that too. So if you fancy popping up to St George’s please look at the website, the Facebook page or call in – it would be really good to see you.