On Monday nights in a cosy corner of the historic Fremantle Wesley Uniting Church, a handful of people come together to eat, pray, and share in the Gospel in a spiritual space.
They call themselves Odd Fish, referring to their nature of going against the status quo of contemporary society and choosing to walk the path of Jesus, sharing love with the outsider. Each Monday evening they share a simple meal together before taking part in a casual liturgy and discussion on a variety of topics.
Paul Montague, First Third specialist for the South Metro Region and one of the group’s founders, said that the group is a space for people to explore their spirituality and connection to religion, including missional activities.
“Most of the core group are in their 20s and 30s,” said Paul. “I don’t think it’s really about boundaries of age, though. Older people who identify as a bit of a free spirit but have an affection for the tradition of contemplation or mysticism, or have a leaning towards ‘Christian humanism’, would fit right in.
“In short, it’s for those who might self-describe as ‘spiritual, not religious’ and are open to the possibility of ‘spiritual, but religious’.”
As a small group, Paul describes the liturgy as “low maintenance high church.” During worship, the group will usually pray silently and aloud, read scripture and sing stripped back chants or hymns acapella style. They’ll then sit in meditation before sharing a pot of tea and discussion on social justice issues.
“It’s intentionally simple, with room to go deep,” said Paul. “We try to name and wrestle with the ugly stuff in real world terms: violence, oppression, addiction. We look for joy, hope and integrity and try to make sense of practising love and grace as weapons against despair.”
“Odd Fish is an experiment in gathering a spiritual community that takes the idea of being disciples to the way of Jesus seriously, without carrying the cultural baggage of Christendom.”
Odd Fish meets on Monday nights, 6.30pm, at Fremantle Wesley Uniting Church. For more information contact Paul Montague at email@example.com or visit http://www.oddfishunite.com. Follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/oddfishunite.
Image: Lucy Ridsdale, Paul Montague adn Jessica Morthorpe in deep discussion at Odd Fish.