The Rev. Eric L. Miller
At the time of writing this article it is one week before Christmas. Our faith family has had a beautiful year of growing together in God’s love as we have lived out our purpose of sharing God’s love. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to share in leading worship with the Rev’s Maggie Foote and Carol Potterton. Carol completed her ministry as deacon with us as of the 4:30pm Christmas Eve worship. Maggie continues serving with us until the last Sunday of June 2018. It seems like Maggie and Carol’s time with Ascension & Holy Trinity has flown by like a shooting star; only, I am certain that their love for spreading God’s love will continue brightly shining.
With the encouragement of Worship Commission, Maggie and I are planning a different worship experience for A&HT. Our parish loves our tried and true 8:00 and 10:00 worship experiences on Sunday mornings. Over the last several years now, the parish has even fallen in love with our summer 8:30 outdoor worship schedule on Sundays, while keeping the usual 10:00 in place. On Saturday January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, we will be offering a contemplative evening prayer experience at 5:00pm in the church.
To be more precise, we will meet in the sanctuary, the area inside of the altar railing, and around the altar railing at the top of the steps. Naturally, there will be overflow areas in the pews and in the areas around the sanctuary. There will be a few icons up for folks who are more connected to God through sight and holy art. We will have votive candles present for those who value tangible ways of offering their prayers of intent to God. There will be prayers, and there will be music. The music, though, will be quieter in nature, bending more toward the “Taize” genre. We will have time for true and meditative silence together. And, there will be a reading from Holy Scripture with time for reflection together, as opposed to the formal homily (think 8:30 “holy conversation” time during the summer months).
Following this period of intentional worship we will have a simple potluck dinner in the Parish Hall. We will eat whatever folks want to bring, but bear in mind that it will be January, and chili always tastes great in the frigid first month of the new year. We will have all of the extras that go with chili such as cheese, oyster crackers, sour cream, and other delectables to add to your chili. Furthermore, we will have a question to discuss over our dinner together, and nursery care will be available during the 5:00 worship and the 6:00 dinner. Our hope is that we grow together as a faith community, that we are introduced to a different style of worship, and that we will be able to worship on Sunday mornings more intentionally after this different experience. Additionally, the worship experience will be led by Maggie and I, but it does not need to be led by clergy. We shall see how this experience goes, and room will be left for God’s Spirit to see if there is desire for more.
As we open ourselves to a new secular year, let us intentionally open our hearts to see where and how God’s transforming grace enters our lives and the lives of our neighbors, near and far in the year ahead. One way to allow God’s grace to enter our lives is through being vulnerable to new experiences, including worship experiences. You are invited to join us Saturday January 6th at 5:00pm for a new way to worship (for most of us) and a simple potluck dinner and conversation.
I’ll see you in the pews and on the streets!
In God’s Grace,
Eric L. Miller+