Alternative Worship – grit in the church’s shell


Alternative Worship has carved out an innovative and creative space in and on the margins of the church in the UK over the last decade, reimagining the possibilites for worship and church. But what of the future? Join Doug Gay, Jonny Baker and Jenny Brown as they look for pearls in the making.

Doug Gay is studying for a PhD in Practical Theology at the University of Edinburgh. He is an ordained minister in the United Reformed Church who are supporting his studies through their Millennium Fellowship. Born and raised in South West Scotland, he worked as a Youth Worker and Housing Worker before training for the ministry. He has lived, worked and worshipped in Hackney, East London and Ruchazie, Greater Easterhouse, Glasgow, but is currently living in rural Galloway with Rachel, Calum & Beth. He was a founder member of the Late, Late Service in Glasgow and the HOST congregation in London and has also been a board member of Greenbelt Festival. He is committed to urban mission, passionate about theology, an aspiring eco-builder and an enthusiast for Christian involvement in the arts. He is a songwriter and hymn writer, was singer in the band Calvin‚s Dream and used to be a regular religious columnist for The Times (until the column where he criticised Rupert Murdoch). Jonny Baker is the National Youth Co-ordinator in the UK for the Church Mission Society. In practice this means developing and supporting mission and new ways of being church in the emerging culture amongst 16-25 year olds. He is a a member of ‘Grace’, an alternative worship community in West London and part of the wider alternative worship movement/scene in the UK. He has co-ordinated the worship at Greenbelt Arts Festival for several years, which has been a key space in the UK for creative/alternative/new forms of worship. He is involved in various creative projects, the most successful of which has been the labyrinth which he helped design, first installed in St Pauls Cathedral, London in 2000. He is a songwriter and director of an independent record label ‘Proost’ on which he has contributed to several alternative worship albums. He has been involved in youth ministry for 15 years (most of those working for Youth For Christ) – many people involved in alternative worship want to avoid being labelled youth ministry as it’s a convenient way for the church to write off what you do and the people involved aren’t by any means youth (though some are), but he lives in both arenas and thinks there is lots of overlap, creative conversation and ideas to be shared between the two. He has recently completed an MA at Kings in Youth Ministry and Applied Theology. Jenny brown is an interactive media designer who has worked on a variety of CD-Rom and web based projects. A founder of the emberdays project on she has been involved in several alternative worship communities since 1994. She compiled the CD ROM with the book Alternative Worship.

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