Sunday, December 23, 2012
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Some of our friends and supporters will be aware of Zac's Place connections with Fresh Expressions, originally a joint initiative of both the Church of England and Methodist denominations, for exploring new ways of being church. Some may wonder how and where Zac's Place fits in as it is neither Anglican or Methodist by formal association!
Here in a farewell speech from Rowan Williams, whilst speaking at 'Following The Missionary Spirit' last week in London, summing up the progress of the Fresh Expressions movement, he gives some indication where Zac's Place fitted in with his early thinking behind it and why we have the connection we do.
It's also a message the wholeheartedly endorses much of the way we have been functioning as a community of faith together, as a 'new creation of God's grace'. Have a listen and be encouraged about the bigger picture. We have been very grateful for Rowan's ongoing keen interest and support over this past ten years during his time as Archbishop of Canterbury.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
It's near Leigh in South West Lancashire not far from M6 Junction 22. Google Map Here.
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Here's a short video update I did for Fresh Expressions just prior to the tour dates back in September - mainly chatting about the struggles and encouragements we experience at Zac's Place. Hope you find it helpful.
See the video in it's context on the Fresh Expressions site here and have a bit of an explore around the site to see what else is going on. For those with specific interest in the Fresh Expressions initiatives, there's an event in London on 22 Nov which maybe of interest.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
In the current series of studies and discussions at our Tuesday evening Tribal Gatherings, we are looking at those issues. I often ask three questions of any church activity to ascertain whether it fulfills a role or whether it's just something we do because that's what we've always done. They are all based on relationship - how does what we do affect our relationship, (and therefore connection, view, understanding etc) with a) God b) each other and c) the wider community we serve. If we struggle to answer at least one of those positively for any endeavor as 'church', we really did ought to be asking ourselves, 'what are we doing it all for then?'
'All Things Considered' Programme on BBC Radio Wales this Sunday, 30 Sep at 9am and it will be available on iPlayer afterwards and on their Podcast.
Listen to this interview here:
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Feedback has been really positive and very kind - certainly enough to make me think the week on the road has been worthwhile. I really do hope that some have been inspired to re-evaluate the basis of what it means to be a follow of Christ on the margins and others who came along, feeling somewhat walking wounded, feel they have had some food for the soul to keep going.
The week finished off with a diversion back north to the BBC in Manchester, to do a short interview for Radio 4, before heading south to Swansea.
Thanks to everyone that helped out at the venues, put me up, fed me and supported the dates.
For those that weren't able to get along, here's a few snippets of feedback that have come our way:
"My head is spinning today, I couldn't get to sleep last night. What you said hit me and the mrs like a sniper's bullet. Daring to take up the challenge of following the Lord where he leads us."
"It was great to hear your radical and refreshing approach Sean in Reading on Monday."
"170 MILES, bit damp and chilly after a days work. BUT oh so worth it mate, enjoyed the entire evening. Keep up the good work."
"Encouraging, uplifting, honest, down to earth and to the point!
Nothing more than I would expect from Sean Stillman but I wouldn't have missed it for the world."
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Reading was a precious homecoming - so many reunions - some after 25 years and wonderful to see so many loyal travelling companions that have supported, shaped and encouraged me along the way for so many years.
Cambridge seemed like a long shot due to not many contacts in the area - but what a fab evening of soul searching and a welcome so warm. So pleased to have included this date on the tour.
Crashing out at friends throughout the week means conversation runs late into the night before hitting the road where the solitude that that brings, provides the head space to collect thoughts for the next stop.
Great to be in Derby at Ozzy Road Church. The minister there, Graham, called by Zac's whilst on his sabbatical a few years ago - so it's been good to see signs of the great work they are doing in the heart of their city. More special reunions with a surprise visit from the Fresh Expressions media team added to what was another diverse gathering of folk - again a wonderful welcome and enthusiastic response.
Continue up the M1 to Leeds for Thursday night, back down to Stoke Friday and home via Salford on Saturday to record an interview for Sunday's BBC Radio 4 morning programme.
Saturday, September 08, 2012
Saturday, September 01, 2012
0830 CORNWALL (On iPlayer until 9/9/12 apx 2h30min in)
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
I hope you enjoy the following - Steve is quite rightly bound to get rave reviews from his huge fan base but Rosalie's voice is just so wonderful also, they blend beautifully - it promises to be a great album to follow. The video itself was filmed by Kamma Pastoll and Martyn Stevens and is the coming together of a very long creative process.
The song is a cover of Shawn Colvin's, 'I Don't Know Why' recorded and produced by Ben Robbins and is available on itunes from 29 July 2012.
Enjoy the emotional twists and turns of a four minute epic . . . . . !
More usual Zac's news and on the road going's on follow soon including Ireland, Germany and a visit from Fresh Expressions. Well done Steve and Rosalie - if the first week's response is anything to go by it'll go deservedly well.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Friday, June 01, 2012
Baz had been involved at Zac's Place since our early gatherings as 'Zac's Place - Church In A Pub?' at Ellingtons around 12 years ago. Since being based at George Street, his fingerprints were all over the place as he helped with many practical jobs around the venue. Security guy, key holder and all round Mr Reliable, Baz leaves a big hole in the community of Zac's Place since his sudden death.
For Baz's family, the road looks like a hard one ahead at the moment - but together we continue to make a difference for those we love and for those we share the road with and those we pick up along the way - that's the way Baz lived, if you knew him, that's why you knew him - don't let that fire go out folks.
The following video was put together by another of us at Zac's Place, Liz.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Some of The Earlier History ...
As a result of an established and ongoing ministry within the biking and arts communities, a need became apparent to provide a forum for Christian community and discipleship among them. Questions were being raised, amid priestly roles being fullfilled, among groups of people somewhat removed from many church expressions - we wanted to find a way to make a deeper connection and therefore create an opportunity to see change in peoples lives. After discussion among a few interested folk, other missional minded church leaders and drawing from Sean's experience within God's Squad, (whose history dates back to the Jesus Movement era of the late 60's), Zac's Place - "Church in a Pub?" began to gather each sunday night in the Autumn of 1998. The question mark was important as we didn't know what, if anything, it would develop into.
It needs to be understood, this wasn't just taking what happens in many churches on any given Sunday and dumping it in a bar. That would have been a futile exercise. It was building up from the grass roots, using language and images that related, without compromising the message and growng into a community of people wanting to follow Jesus and serve others. It would be fair to say that many encouraged the venture, but it was not without it's critics and to some extent, that remains.
Live music and the natural communal atmosphere of a bar helped us create a forum for building relationships with the many and varied folk that came. Sean's punchy and topical talks, based on the bible, managed to connect with some of of the most hard nosed cynics.
Over a seven year period, pretty much every Sunday night, using four* different bars in Swansea city centre, a mixed bag of bikers, musicians, students, rough sleepers, walking wounded spiritual refugees and truth seekers gathered. People found Jesus in community, in the brokeness of fragile lives, where the common ground was level ground; poverty of spirit. Some folk were encouraged in their recovery from addictions and we worked alongside local and national agencies, others whose faith had been battered by negative church experience had their wounds tended whilst others found a level of communication they could relate and respond to to see their christian faith develop. Some people are still around, for some it was an important staging post others were travellers passing through.
It was also a time of immense creativity, so much so we worked with HTV Wales on a mini series of 5 programmes featuring live music, poetry, interviews and reflection from Sean. We ran stages of live music, by invitation of promoters, in Swansea city centre and also at a festival in Singleton Park and have occasionally taken Zac's Place out on the road for events.
Eventually we had a dilemna. Many of those attracted to us had significant issues of addiction that they were wrestling with. The pub, whilst the best place to meet people is not the best place for everything. The search began for a sacred space of our own.
In 2003 we bought an old Gospel Hall, in Swansea city centre, which had shut it's doors the previous year. Over the next few years Zac's Place became known as "A Church For Ragamuffins" continuing on the same principles that it started with; an open door and a warm welcome to all. Bible teaching, discipleship and serving the poor and vulnerable continue to be the main stays of activity. It continues to be a mission church very much at home on the margins.
Finding Us In The Past ....
* You may have found us hanging out in smokey bars at at the Subteranea Bar, The Green Dragon, Ellington's at the Duke of York and The Office
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
"Swansea has a great many services for homeless and vulnerable people. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to access statutory and voluntary services. Some are excluded because of their past or current behaviour, social or financial reasons but some exclude themselves, choosing not to accept such help or support. It is on these occasions that the care offered by Zac’s Place comes into its own.
Every weekday morning at 8 am the doors to Zac’s Place open to provide an essential outreach service to those who are sleeping rough with tea, housing advice and respite from the weather. At least twice a year Zac’s Place accommodates the so called “Homeless Health Days” run in conjunction with Swansea School of Medicine when homeless people can have a health check, flu vaccinations and foot care. Every Thursday evening is the coffee bar providing an opportunity to sit in the warm, have a hot drink and enjoy the fellowship of others.
For some people Zac’s Place is the only safe haven in their lives. Here they find help, the love and support of others and, importantly, acceptance of who they are and the life that they are leading. It may not seem much, but for many, it is a lifeline."
Janet Keauffling, Nurse for the Homeless and Vulnerable Adults - based at Cyrenians Community Centre, High Street, Swansea.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Some previous newsletters are available for download on the media page of the website HERE
Thank you for your ongoing interest and support.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Julie and Whitney could not be more different, but it would appear that there was also plenty of common ground. Not least of all, an underlying recollection that no matter how messy it has all got - maybe, just maybe, this Jesus could still possibly be a friend that would stick around. Despite the heartache, the pain and the struggle somehow there was a fragment of fragile faith intact enough to hold on to the faintest hope, that there was someone who still loved them, regardless.
The day after Houston's death, Bruce Springsteen kicked off the Grammy awards, where she would have been present, with his anthemic new track 'We take care of our own'. Everything about it can seem triumphalistic, but with a deeper look into the lyric, the irony becomes apparent with typical Springsteen insight. We say we take care of our own, but when it comes down to it, we too often don't. We do when it suits us. As long as it doesn't cost us any money, time or emotions. Houston was devoured by a music industry that went onto to feed on fresh meat and will continue to have scant regard for anything other than the dollars. Julie lie dead on the city streets as pedestrians passed on by, as a result of trying to numb the pain of way too many trauma's.
The beauty and the tragedy of this simple but beautiful old hymn, "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know" is in it's origins. It began as tender words in novel I believe, written to comfort a dying child. I can't also help hearing the Saviours words encouraging us to embrace his love - not qualified by our innocence, but our fragile incompetance. We do continue indeed to be weak; but He is strong. Here indeed is the "love that has not forsaken me" that Springsteen calls for.
Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
Big Issue Article on Julie and Homelessness in Swansea.
Whitney Houston - Not the last performance, but an earlier more complete recording of Jesus Loves Me.
Bruce Springsteen - We Take Care Of Our Own
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Original link can be found here.