As part of getting into the local Manly community, and trying to shed a few of the post wedding kilos I have joined a local swimming group at the end of our street. They are called The Bold and Beautiful. If you are ever down in Manly at 7am you will see the rather strange sight of 100-200 grown adults in speedos and pink swimming caps heading into the water for their daily swim to Shelley Beach and back. I have been going a couple of times a week and am getting to know some of the regulars and bumping into some old friends. Some things I love about the group…
- It is a free community group that is set up for the simple pleasure of joining others in a daily swim. No one seems to be making any money or building an empire, just forming community, encouraging fitness and enjoying God’s incredible creation (we see dolphins, sharks, blue gropers, stingrays…)
- Although there are varying standards of swimming, everyone is valued. When we get to Shelley Beach we wait for the slowest swimmer to come in. When the group has breakfast together afterwards, everyone is invited
- It says something about Manly – it is still a community, it is generally friendly and welcoming, it glories in its amazing beauty and it values health and wellbeing
As we come to plant a church in this community some thoughts
- A true church community shouldn’t have cliques, groups, levels, hierarchies… It should be a place where all are welcomed, all are valued, all are encouraged.
- We should wear our equivalent pink swimming cap identifiers. Can I suggest love, hospitality, graciousness, generosity?
- The best advertising is positive word of mouth. If people are coming alive, growing and enjoying being a part of Manly Life Church – it will grow and it will be a place of restoration.