NEWS | Kaley Payne
Wednesday 6 January 2015
For three summer nights this January, a church is popping up in a disused goods shed on Hobart’s waterfront.
Energizer Church, a Pentecostal (ACC) church on Hobart’s eastern shore is hoping to show its city that Christians don’t always fit into stereotypical boxes, or stereotypical church buildings.
Pastor David Morse says his church is looking for a way to “be the heart of the city, in the heart of the city” for 2016 and is always on the look out for how to connect with their community, particularly the more “cosmopolitan, arts scene” that is emerging in the city.
“Hobart, like lots of other places, has a big part of the population that expect church to be traditional and starchy. It’s something they might not relate easily with.”
Mr Morse says Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), though controversial in some Christian circles for its often risqué displays, has become one of the city’s largest tourist attractions. He says in many ways, MONA has opened the city’s eyes to the power of the arts. And that has encouraged his church to think harder about how to engage with a changing demographic.
“I think there are just a lot of opportunities here to break past people’s stereotypes and barriers for why they wouldn’t consider coming to church.”
The pop up church starts next Saturday, January 16, and runs for the last three Saturdays in January. It’s popping up in a goods shed on Hobart’s waterfront precinct, one of the venues used for Hobart’s popular Dark Mofo festival of public art in 2015, created by MONA.
“[The space] doesn’t feel like church. It’s grungy; it’s a bit dirty. It’s quite different to what people expect church be like.”
Yet, to the seasoned churchgoer, Mr Morse says pop up church won’t look too different to a regular church service. There will be an evangelistic talk, worship music, prayer but all linked with a “festival atmosphere”, with plenty of opportunities for people to connect with Energizer church members through small groups and interest groups already running in the church, like a group doing Hobart food tours.
“We want to help people discover that Christians in Hobart are people, just like everybody else.”
“Pop up church is going to be another link in the chain of helping us connect with our city in greater ways and find other ways to reach people.”