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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


What do you think of when you hear the word “Steam”? Perhaps the image of a boiling kettle comes to mind, or a steam generator. Each of you will have your own answer to that question, but I am guessing not many of you thought of Steam as a worship service.

Once each month, Barrie Community of Christ holds an event it calls Steam. In this case, Steam refers to a Christian Coffeehouse held at the TLC Café and Bistro, 49 Maple Avenue in downtown Barrie. During this event, people come together to enjoy live music, share what gives them joy or sorrow, pray, and strengthen their relationship with God and each other. Kind of sounds like worship, doesn’t it? In fact, last Sunday night, Pastor Matthew Swain even shared a homily on a passage from Leviticus in the Hebrew Scriptures he has been studying in Seminary!

Steam is hosted by Larry Christopher, the owner of the TLC café. Larry is a chef and a musician who probably loves all music but is especially devoted to the music of Neil Young. During Steam, Larry is present, preparing and serving food or refreshments for the group, and even sharing his music when invited to do so. Talk to him about his café, his music, or his relationship with Pastor Matthew, and one quickly senses the love Larry seeks to share with the world. Listen to his stories and his generous attitude of graciously doing what he can to make others happy, and it is clear that Larry also receives a lot of love in return. He is a living example of living generously.

What sets Steam apart from church in most congregations is the setting, and not just that it occurs in a downtown cafe. The difference is that Steam happens when the café is open! In other words, the congregation meets in a public place with people coming and going, all of whom are welcome to stay and participate. It rather reminds me of the Apostles in the Book of Acts, going daily to the Temple to worship and teach others about Jesus. Like those ancient Apostles, for the leaders of Steam it is not about inviting people to come where you are, but going where the people are and inviting them to share in the joy.

Will Barrie Community of Christ always do Steam? I confess I do not know. What I can say is that, for now at least, Barrie has found a way to go to the Community and invite others to Christ. They do so in a way that fits the times and the community in which they live. Praise God!

Posted by Carman


  1. STEAM meanings many things to me. We have another more personal gathering called STREAMS which refers to our personal spiritual journeys and the path we travel together in the Community of Christ. Streams are composed of water and when water heats up it becomes steam. The steam from a fresh cup of coffee travels upwards. STEAM is a time when we uplift each other and celebrate being Christians. I image being lifted up towards God and become closer. In this time we talk freely about Jesus and we talk about being a Christian in the modern world.

    I am so thankful that people are brave enough to come out and celebrate with us and share together in public. Sometimes we even get strangers to join in! It is each and every person who makes themselves vulnerable and presence that makes STEAM happen.

  2. Thanks Matthew, and good job on Steam. I think you are on the right path. Stay tuned for more to come, folks!



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