While many Christians intentionally live their lives in the way of Jesus, Open Table build on that, as a group who seek to live as an intentional Christian community. In the Perth suburb of Lockridge, the group pray together, dine together weekly and not only support local community, but are helping to create it. The group consists of three families, including a number of children. One of these families is currently away overseas, and one more is on the way to joining.
Gary McGhee, member of the Open Table group, makes his living as a software and web-designer and says that being a part of the community is a way of living out his faith everyday, not just on Sunday mornings.
“The whole point, is being a normal life thing,” he said. “While other churches run a big event, our approach is more spreading the load over the whole week.”
The group live by the belong, believe, behave philosophy meaning anyone can belong first – before they believe or behave as a Christian. Many people are part of the Open Table network, but to be an official member the only requirement is that you live in Lockridge, within walking distance to the other members. While this does create challenges for finding housing, it is necessary to be able to interact with the community effectively.
One of the group’s main projects in the community is the Lockridge Community Garden, which is open for anyone to come and be a part of on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings for busy bees. The garden also often holds workshops and open days and features an area where people can share coffee and wood-fired pizza.
Gary says the garden provides an easy way to be a part of something connected to the community.
“Its hard to run a big church event, but it’s not hard to come down to the garden,” he said.
While he admits that theological differences can arise in the group, the support they receive from being part of a community that lives in day-to-day faith together outweighs this challenge.
“It doesn’t matter what your theology, you can still have dinner together.”
To find out more about the Lockridge Community Garden visit www.lockridgecommunitygarden.org.au.