One of the most exciting worship services of the year for our church (Church on the Hill, UCC in Lenox) happened on June 1. Why am I so excited about this particular service? Well, I watched it from its inception... as a new and different idea, inspired by last year’s Annual Meeting keynote speaker, The Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers.
The event held was a ‘Sacred Feast’ -- a brunch for nourishing body and soul. It was a community communion service where church-goers and non-churchgoers sat at the same table and shared music, scripture, storytelling and eating.
I saw that idea develop, with the help of many dedicated people, into a full blown all-inclusive Open Communion Meal. I watched as words became procedures, thoughts turned into actions, and people became mobilized and enthusiastic.
Not once did I hear, “but we’ve never done it that way.” What I heard was, “what can I do to help?”
It’s been invigorating.
It was an exhilarating experience because we really made an effort to reach out into the community to those who may not usually go to church. We sent out numerous emails through the Lenox Chamber of Commerce and the Lenox Community Center and through our own email list. We got posters hung in stores, posted the event information to our website and Facebook page, sent press releases to dozens of periodicals and radio stations, and even got interviewed by the area newspaper.
But this was more than just putting increased efforts into promoting the event. This occasion represented a fresh style of worship that speaks to the many folks in our community who are “spiritual but not religious”.
We wanted everyone to know that we are there for them. We are willing to meet them where they are – just as Jesus did when he welcomed all at a meal and fed people both physically and spiritually.
This worship proclaimed Church on the Hill as a church that is abundantly welcome and willing to reach out in new ways. The community got to experience table fellowship, bluegrass music, storytelling and scripture, and an open communion with a complete meal in a setting that is open to all people, no matter their affiliation, no matter where they are on life’s journey.
[See related Spotlight article on the event’s success.]
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