There’s going to be a church in Cindies

This Sunday, there’ll be a church service. No surprises there. But this service will be in Cindies…

Christ church egg GAY KingsGate women

It’s not often that religion gets much of a look in nowadays, and for the average Cambridge undergraduate, it’s not top of the list.

There’s a good reason for that; much of it, rightly or wrongly, is seen as fuddy-duddy irrelevant bollocks, and at its worst, religion denigrates human life, offends basic human sense and discriminates with a prejudice that the Nazi party would be impressed by.

But religion doesn’t need to have these negative connotations, and nor should it – certainly the view of those setting up the new KingsGate Church – which will meet today in Cindies at 6pm.

I spoke to the wonderfully affable Steve Squirrell (great name), who told me all about it:

“What we want to do is make Christianity accessible to people who have no church background and maybe have very negative preconceptions of church and of Christians.

“Revolution Service is church, but not as you know it.”

A verified photograph of Our Lord

A verified photograph of Our Lord

Whilst Steve ‘loves’ the other churches in Cambridge, this start-up wants to do something different.

“We wanted to have something that was accessible to students and people who may have no conception of who God is.”

“So we launched a service in Revs last year and outgrew w it, so we are moving to Cindies.”

I’m not totally convinced that a church service in a sweat bucket is the most appetising way to spend a Sunday.

“It is dark, smells a bit like a club, will have loud music, lively preaching, a very young vibe.”

To an old git like me, that sounds terminal, but Squirrell is confident:

“We want to ram it full eventually! Cindies has a license for like up to 800 people! But for the launch, we want to see a couple hundred. We had up to 106 at Revs and so had to get a bigger venue.”

A holy space?

A holy space?

But other than praying on the dancefloor, what do these guys really offer?

“Mate we’re for everyone. We have loads of guys who are super committed Christians, but we also have people who come and they are maybe originally opposed, or maybe they are on the fringe.

“Christians should be normal people!”

Steve doesn’t do what some ‘trendy Christians’ do by pretending it’s not about God:

“The Bible is the inspired word of God. We believe that God heals people today. We believe that prayer is powerful.

“What we are doing is taking a timeless message, which is that Jesus came to bring ‘life and life in all it’s fulness’, and presenting it in such a way that is accessible to people and relevant.”

And on some of the big issues which might put people off churches, like the utterly ridiculous doctrine of women being second class citizens, this church seems sane.

“We have preachers who come and are women. We have women who lead worship and lead all sorts of ministries in the church. We do believe that God has gifted women as well!”

What a bloody relief. Perhaps he should tell the Pope.

Having said that, I was disappointed (but not surprised) by the church’s view on LGBT+ people. They’re clearly not homophobic, and compared to some Christians, that’s a relief.

“We love all students! Gay or straight! I don’t think Jesus loved anyone more than anyone else, so we don’t either.”

But I’ve done church things long enough (and am gay enough) to know that that’s not really an answer.

I pressed a little further – does this church constrict private lives? Does it condone gay relationships?

I think not, ladies

I think not, ladies

“I wouldn’t say students are put off faith because it restricts their private lives. I would say lots of students are put off of faith because they have a perception of an angry God who doesn’t like them and wants to make their lives miserable!”

And then, sadly, the clincher – referring to the ‘traditional view’ of marriage as their doctrine. I imagine by traditional that means a man and a woman, not a man and several women sold into slavery to a man who then owns them and can do what he likes to them – the Biblical view, if you like.

But perhaps I’m obsessed with LGBT+ issues in the church – forgive me. Steve has a big vision for this church, and perhaps it’s worth giving it a shot.

“What we are doing is taking a timeless message, which is that Jesus came to bring ‘life and life in all it’s fulness’, and presenting it in such a way that is accessible to people and relevant.”

If you fancy it, pop down to Cindies. Just don’t marry a homosexual on the way.