July 29, 2016:    As more and more people in North America, Europe and other places turn against organized religion for reasons good and bad, an option that is growing rapidly is the “house church.” This is a concept that includes many kinds of informal, small gatherings where participants dress however they please, sit in a circle (maybe around a table after a meal) and follow no formal liturgy of any kind. It may or may not include music, depending on the skill and inclinations of the group. It will almost always include prayer, conversation and Bible study of some kind. It often includes activities for children which they would probably call “play” (such as crafts, finger-painting, puzzles, etc.) or perhaps “stories.” And, it might meet at a restaurant or in a committee room at a community center or whatever type of space is available and convenient to the participants.

The Simple Church project is an Adventist resource organization that helps people start groups of this kind. They are currently supporting groups around the world and provide a wide range of information on a Web site. Many of the participants are not members of the Adventist Church or even have a background in the Adventist faith; they are simply individuals and families who feel some need for a relationship to the spiritual and have found friends with the same needs.

Introductory events are scheduled in several places over the next few months and you may want to attend one of these or you may know someone who would be interested:

Columbus, Ohio – August 26-28, 2016

Minnesota – September 23-25, 2016

Florida –  January 25-29, 2017

London, England – March 10-12, 2017

Each of these events begins on Friday evening, continues on Sabbath morning and Sabbath afternoon, and ends with a session on Sunday morning when interested individuals are helped to network and form local teams, if they want to. The Sabbath morning session includes a sermon by Pastor Milton Adams, the director of the Simple Church project and an experienced convener (with his wife) of informal groups of this type. There is plenty of opportunity ask questions about what they have experienced.

For more information, including the specific location of each of these events and similar events as they are scheduled in other cities, go to:  https://www.simplechurchathome.com

“More and more people, especially younger adults, are tired of all the rules, ceremonies, denominational bureaucracy and neurotic attitudes of so many ‘church people’ in all denominations, that there is a real need for this type of alternative,” a seminary professor who does not want to be identified told Adventist Today. This may be something you are looking for or someone you know really needs.