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My name is Gavin and I have been part of the Mosaic family on and off since about February of this year.    

How I discovered the Mosaic community is not quite as interesting as why I stayed, but I’m going to tell you anyway.   I was taken to Mosaic as part of a class I took in 2012.  While we never attended an actual Mosaic gathering, we visited the space and spoke with their then pastor about who Mosaic are and what they do.  That one encounter made a small nest in my soul which waited patiently for Spring 2017, when circumstances caused me to return to it.  

I don’t need to go into specifics, but that season arrived when I was searching for a new worshipping community after leaving the church I had worked for since I arrived in Vancouver.  I had become a little drained by church in its more traditional form but wasn’t quite sure of the alternatives.  I had little to no experience of other churches in the area, so I decided to reinvestigate the Mosaic community I had briefly encountered 5 years prior.    

What I have found at Mosaic is a gathering where the lines between relationship, worship and community are so fluid that it is often difficult to distinguish them.  Conversation moves into singing which moves into discussion and on through the sacraments.  

There is a structure to the time, but it is a structure which bends to the sacred and not the other way around. Space is created and maintained for all thoughts to be expressed and voices heard. Silence is comfortable at Mosaic, but no one is silenced and all voices find ears.  Unique to my experience, Mosaic welcomes with actions more than words.  

‘Authenticity’ is a word that has been kicked around a lot these days as our society collectively grapples with increased isolation and insecurity in our lives.  Recently at Mosaic we discussed the idea that idols can be whatever we believe will save us and whatever we invest all our hope in.  I have found within the Mosaic community the unspoken rejection of the idea that holding back who we really are might protect and save us.  However one might choose to define ‘authenticity’, it is largely irrelevant compared to the liberation of actually participating in it.    

I like my Sundays.  I wake up late and sit on my sofa in my pajamas watching sport.  It’s very comfortable.  When it comes time to leave for Mosaic, the usual debate rages in my mind: to stay on my sofa, or risk leaving it.  Traveling through Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is not a comfortable experience for a lot of people, myself included.  People there don’t conform to the usual social practices and etiquettes we are used to and comfortable with.  They can seem unpredictable and intimidating.  I say this, because at another recent Mosaic we did what’s called a sharing circle.  It is a simple but profound activity where each person in the circle is given an opportunity to indiscriminately share something from their life.  It can be anything at all, a thought, an anecdote, a lament, a prayer.  Anything. There is no judgment and no pretense.  It is deep and rich experience of listening and acceptance and an opportunity seldom afforded in any other area of our lives.  It is a space where one can talk openly and, most importantly, be heard.    

My sofa is far more comfortable than a sharing circle, but we were not created for sofas.  The reason I choose to leave my sofa can perhaps be insensitively compared to the plight of so many in our world who on necessity embark on journeys in order to gain resources vital to life.  Perhaps despite Vancouver’s saturation of prosperity, we are not so different.  

I will be making weekly contributions to this blog over the next few months sharing a little more of what we have been doing and seeing. I would love it if you were to follow along.  

Gavin Marshall