Here’s a highly questionable news article:
Sydney – APAA
A church in Sydney is wowing them in the aisles for what appears to be a new take on the gospel message.
Crossfire, a Pentecostal church and Sydney’s fourth largest Christian congregation has seen its regular Sunday attendances triple after the occurrence of a new style of worship. Parishioners are even talking about needing to move to a larger venue.
‘Our current church only seats 2,000. It’s awesome that our church is blessed in such a way that so many more people are able to witness the power of Jesus for themselves,’ said regular attendee, Evangeline Ng.
For the past month or so, it has been literally standing room only at Crossfire’s converted warehouse, situated in the outer south-western suburb of Ingleburn’s industrial estate. Not that this appears to present any difficulty to the church’s flock.
‘It was a miracle. About two months ago, people just stood up and started embracing each other in peace and worship,’ said Pastor Michael Hunt-Hearst, the director of the church. ‘The grace of the Holy Spirit has been with us ever since and we can personally bear witness to the love and unity that our Lord inspires.’
Indeed, love is the word. To the uninitiated, your typical Sunday service at Crossfire appears to erupt in what can only be described as a display of passion as members of the congregation throw their arms around each other and grind against the person or persons nearest to them. It was described by one witness as, ‘a frenzy of uninhibited testament to the Power of God.'
Curious onlookers have been almost turned away, due to the sheer numbers of people who have converged on Crossfire since the word of mouth started spreading. One newcomer said, ‘It’s just too unbelievable for words. The Star [local newspaper servicing the Campbelltown area] ran an article about this last week, and I had to see it for myself.’ The newcomer, who declined to give his name, went on to say that, ‘I’m not particularly religious, but I’m rethinking this as we speak. This is fantastic.’
Our non-religious onlooker proceeded to wander off into the gathered throng and rub himself up against several female parishioners in a way that more closely resembled the dance crazes of ‘freaking’ or ‘lambada’ than actual praise. The ladies in the congregation appeared more than happy to reciprocate, speaking in tongues as they did so.
Of course, the criticism from the more traditional churches in the area has started to trickle out. The minister of the nearby St Andrews’ Uniting Church, the Reverend David Fotheringay said, ‘Naturally, we all worship the Lord in different ways. I’m not sure what the Lord would make of what almost resembles outercourse, though. It’s a bit out there for some.’ St Andrews has seen its regular Sunday attendance dwindle to only a handful over the past few years.
Of the question that Crossfire’s growing popularity represents a threat to his - and others’ - congregation, Rev Fotheringay said, ‘There will always be worshippers who prefer more traditional church services.’
Father Patrick O’Riley of St Augustine’s Catholic Church in Campbelltown is more forthright about Crossfire’s more intimate worshipping style: ‘About a year ago, at the invitation of Pastor Mike, I attended one of their masses (sic). The Pastor did a sermon from Revelation about false prophets, as I recall. The Bible doesn't say anything about frottage, divinely inspired or otherwise.'
Pastor Hunt-Hearst appeared sprightly in the face of such criticism. ‘We have no problem with celebrating the Almighty Power that is God in this way. Indeed, Isaiah prophesised that people would embrace each other in worship. In One Corinthians, Paul talks about having the whole church coming together in unity, and of growing larger through the gifts of the Spirit.’
Gillian Lambert of Campbelltown Area Rape Victims Support Unit is not convinced. ‘We are a little worried that Crossfire’s services could, in time, attract the wrong kind of worshipper and believe that eventually, someone may get stalked or even attacked,’ said Ms Lambert in an email.
The Pastor believes that the ‘miracle,’ as he describes it, is here to stay.
‘We believe that the Spirit will bless other churches around the world in this way, but that there will be many witnesses who will visit Crossfire from around the world to see where it all began, just like in Toronto,’ suggested Pastor Hunt-Hearst, referring to the Toronto blessing, first seen at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship.
In readiness, Crossfire’s shop is already selling t-shirts with, ‘Feel the Spirit at Crossfire.’
And as for whether Pastor Hunt-Hearst foresees parishioners eventually having actual sex in the pews? The Pastor laughs for a bit nervously before responding, ‘That’s a bit silly, don’t you think?’
Not as silly as what he thinks.