Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Starting from Scratch

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Starting from Scratch: What Church Panting Looked Like for St. Lydia's
is a new Open article now online. Click the image above to read the article by Emily Scott.

Emily Scott tells of the first months of founding St. Lydia’s, her new effort at liturgical evangelism and community building with young adults in New York City. The congregation that she began and that’s now taking steps to shape its own life is still, as she says, ‘hot off the press,’ and she tells the beginning of a story that invites us to ask for more.

Here as St. Lydia’s is just begun and while the thinking and experience are in formative stages she writes about what prompted this beginning, how she made initial choices, what church and organizational thinking she drew on to shape a new start-up. With the unguarded voice of those moments of beginnings, she’s asking what the work of starting something really is. That question of how to begin something new can speak to any church leader and any congregation. It’s always going to be specific and local, anyone risking the spiritual and practical work of first steps will welcome hear not just of the progress St. Lydia’s has made, but how that progress was made, and what they learned along the way.

Anticipated Returns: The Advent Project

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Anticipated Returns: The Advent Project
is a new Open article. Click the image above to read the article by William Peterson.

We publish Bill Petersen’s article on the North American Academy of Liturgy’s “Advent Project Seminar” in time to challenge any of us who plan liturgy to restore Advent to its ancient seven week length, sidestep the ‘Christmas culture,’ and find our way to much-needed preaching, teaching and reflection on what Christian eschatology actually looks like, how it’s different from ‘End Times’ speculations of the Religious Right, and how the end which has come to us in Christ invites us to live differently NOW. The North American Academy of Liturgy’s ecumenical conversations took this renewed approach to practical ideas including the observation that the Revised Common Lectionary anticipates such a change, or at least supplies suitable readings for a seven week Advent. The seminar also suggested experimental use of the “O” Antiphons one by one for this longer seven week Advent, and invited making new sources (or adapting existing ones) such as hymnody and psalm antiphons to give the extended season character and life. This article was invited by APLM Council member John Hill and is also published in Liturgy Canada.

Read it and see what your congregation can do to linger in reflection on the coming and presence of God’s kingdom. The seminar is particularly interested in hearing of experiments this advent – what you tried and how it worked. Read, ponder, and join this ecumenical and international effort to renew and enlarge our Advent in practice.

Pews, Mission, and Worship

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Pews, Mission, and Worship: A Pastoral Letter to a Parish
is a new Open article now online in PDF format. Click the image here to read Philip Carr-Janes article.

Writing a pastoral letter to his congregation about the history of church furniture (particularly the seating) and what it can do to serve or hinder or worship, Phil Carr-Jones gives broad Biblical background, a solid sketch of the history and evolution (or decay) or Christian practice and proposes a full seasonal cycle for reordering the church space with a rationale for the seating of each season.