That's how many were squeezed into Zac's last night. The number included the regulars, others who used to be but haven't been for a while, and some who were visiting from afar, including a Californian Messianic rabbi and some God Squadders from Australia. Amazingly, it was a well-mannered crowd, being quiet when they should be and contributing at the right times. On the whole.
We were beginning a new series, looking at what church is and comparing the original model in the New Testament with what we see and what we want Zac's to be. As an introduction, Sean asked why people came to Zac's. Here are some of the answers:
because I feel safe here;
because people don't look down on me here;
because you're the man, Sean, and we like to listen to what you say;
because I need this time to help me get through the rest of the week;
because most vicars don't like it if you interrupt them;
for Liz's cakes (this was the excuse of an atheist who comes each week to a bible study);
because you get so many different views and it makes me look at things differently;
because I'm accepted here;
because we're all on a journey together.
One man said, 'I started coming here and finding some faith but then I had health problems and other problems and I began drinking and I went downhill and I was embarrassed and didn't like to come. But I knew I didn't have any option and when one day I saw Sean outside I asked him if I was allowed in. He said, 'Get in there!''
I said, 'I originally came because I thought I could help, in a slightly superior way. You know, I've got all the answers, I can help these poor people, sort of thing. But I've received far more than I could ever give. I love it here; it's the best place to be.'