Unpicking Knit and Natter

Researching an Emerging Christian Community

In: Ecclesial Practices
Christine Dutton Hartley Victoria College, Manchester Urban Theology Unit, Sheffield

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The article explores an emerging ecclesiology of ‘fresh expressions’ of church by focusing on the example of Knit and Natter, a group founded in 2008 and based in a Methodist church in Ellesmere Port near Liverpool, England. The study draws on a period of participant-observation within the group and on interviews with its members. It locates this particular case study within the wider context of the Fresh Expressions movement, and deploys thematic analysis to establish the reasons why members of this group have chosen to connect with a Christian community through the shared practice of knitting. The article also examines Knit and Natter’s own emerging identity as a church, the use of knitting as an aid to prayer, and the ways in which this activity as an application of the gospel serves as a starting point for the faith of many women who have not previously had a church connection. It illustrates how, as the group’s members pray and serve together, as new members are baptised and celebrate communion, the breadth of their ecclesiological experience is strengthened and they can begin to explore in practice what it means to follow Christ in community.

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