Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Solomon's Porch, pictured above, now gathers in a rented space that used to be a Methodist Church. Note the mismatched and worn sofas; as one member said, "The sofas are worn and frayed around the edges, just like the people who sit on them."
A New Generation of Gathered Community: Exploring the Emergent Church in Minneapolis
From September 15-17, 2007 the semi-annual meeting of diocesan congregational development officers gathered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We travelled out in teams to worship with different emergent church communities and other new generations of gathered communities (I personally worshipped with four communities with in 24 hours). We had a DVD production crew along who captured clips of the different worship services, as well as filmed a three hour discussion about what we observed, what was different, and how an Episcopal congregation might gather in a similar way.
What I witnessed (and this is my own perspective) was communities of people gathered in Christ's name, seeking authentic worship (and small groups) that is (are) relevant to their daily lives, and a clear message that God loves each of us as we are and welcomes us. There was a rawness to the worship, it was never perfect and didn't aim to be. Rather, imperfect people (like all of us) shared their faith journey, came as they were, and looked to experience Christ's transformative love.
One community, "Spirit Garage" (The Church with the Big Door) met in a music theater. I knew I was in for a different experience when I was offered ear plugs with my "worship menu." What might be relevant to Episcopal congregations is that Spirit Garage is a daughter congregation of a traditional ELCA church, and is still part of that congregation. While the service is loose, the communion prayers and baptismal liturgy were still ELCA liturgy (there was a baptism on the day we visited. I was surprised that the worship was multi-generational with lots of babies and not just youth and young adults).
If this subject is of interest to you, look for a free DVD from our office to be released early next year...
Posted by The Rev. Suzanne Watson at 11:54 AM