Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Space is Ready

Mark and Mark worked for about five hours on the floor. After scrubbing and then mopping three times it is ready for us. We have arranged the benches and chairs in a circle but it ends up like more of an oval. We don't have the screens yet, of course, so we will be using a laptop and an extension screen to view the order of worship.

I sat for a while in the space late Saturday afternoon. We had left some windows open to get ventilation but rain is forecast so I went back to close them. I lit the candle. I urge you to just sit alone in the chapel when you get a chance. These are the pictures I took.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Crock Pot

I just took delivery on a 6 quart crock pot. It is still in the box but is itchin' to make some soup. I will have it in the kitchen Sunday morning at 8:30. Sarah, you have the recipe. What shall we bring?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Danforth Chapel prep

Mark and Mark worked on cleaning Danforth Chapel and shearing off the bolts that held the benches in place.  Here are pictures. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

News of the Planning Team

The Sacred Soup planning team met Sunday evening at the home of Carol and Brien and we noted the following:

Mark and Mark have removed the bolts from the benches in Danforth Chapel and stacked some of them in the corner and arranged the rest in a circle.  We still need to pull the bolts out of the floor.  The ones in the tile in the chancel came out fairly easily but the ones in the concrete floor in the nave are harder to remove.  If we can’t take them out we will cut them off.  In order to finish protecting the floor we will fill the holes with epoxy filler dyed the color of the tile.  We also have a lot of cleaning to do.

We are planning on starting May 1.  We won’t have everything in place but, since we want the input of those who gather, not having everything done invites participation.  We will have soup and bread and we will be able to worship with each other.

We discussed the concerns of the Council in the conversation preceding the vote to allow the use of Danforth Chapel.   We affirm that we are fully a part of Pilgrim Church and want to avoid even the appearance of being a splinter group.  To solidify this message:
  • ·         We link to the Pilgrim Home Page on our blog at
  • ·         We want the Council to approve our application for a trademark for the name Sacred Soup to be owned by Pilgrim.
  • ·         We want to routinely report to the congregation about our activities so that nothing appears secret or separate.

Moving forward we have some plans for further renovation of the chapel for our use. These include:
  • ·         Suspending lighting above the central table
  • ·         Adding a counter for serving soup, bread, and beverages
  • ·         Adding comfortable “living room” style seating in the back corners for casual conversation
  • ·         Putting down area rugs and hanging banners and tapestries to deaden the echo
  • ·         Mounting a video and sound system for viewing movies, short videos, PowerPoint, background music, and other AV resources including items from the Internet
  • ·         Adding lighting to the narthex to use it as display space

We think we can do much of this with donated labor and furniture but we will probably spend up to $5,000 on the renovations.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sources for Sacred Soup

“Sacred Soup” is the name we have given to a weekly worship experience with a complex theology but a simple format.  After meeting shortly after noon on Sundays and sharing a simple lunch of soup and bread, a small group of people will engage with each other and the Spirit in pursuit of a deeper awareness of what it means and feels like to gather “In Christ.”

The idea for the event was one that Mark Robinson brought with him as one of the six Pilgrims who sojourned to Memphis to visit 1st Congo UCC the last weekend in March 2011.  Out of the experiences in Memphis, the six agreed to explain and implement their observations by working together to create “Sacred Soup.” They will form the core of the planning team for the project but all are welcome to join them.

There are several aspects of this project that are characteristic of the philosophical and procedural shifts that the six discern as important for Pilgrim.

  • Do new things in new ways with an awareness that new ideas sometimes fail and sometimes succeed.  Take risks in ministry.  Don’t stomp on someone else’s “Yes!” just because we haven’t done this before.
  • Use the resources which are underutilized.  Don’t let the gifts and tools we have for ministry languish.  The Spirit speaks through silence and emptiness as well as through shouts and excess.
  • Don’t rely on the existing administrative structures to generate new programs.  Vertical structures get top heavy.  Lead from the excitement and needs of the members and neighbors.
  • Expect new projects to be self-governing and self-sustaining.  If an idea has the spark that it takes to catch fire, then the people who build it should be able fan the flames.  They can raise their own financial resources and sweep their own floors.

All the planning team needs from Pilgrim is permission to use Danforth Chapel from noon to 4:00 on Sundays and to be free to add lighting and to move the benches to create more open space.  We will clean and prepare the space and will publicize and sustain the program.  We are looking to be affiliated with Pilgrim much as the Soup Kitchen is affiliated.  We expect that people who are not currently Pilgrim members will join in the project (and potentially join Pilgrim).  We do not require any resources from the General Fund or depend upon the efforts of the Pilgrim staff.  We expect to contribute to the General Fund for our use of utilities.  We hope to start May 1, 2011.

Mark Barnett
Sarah Coffin
Larry Gaines
Jenny Heim
Carol Moakley
Mark Lee Robinson

Qualities of "Sacred Soup"

While specific aspects of the worship and the community which gathers for it are yet to be revealed, these are some qualities we are looking for.

Simple:  Our  worship is as uncluttered as we can make it. 
  • Gathering: We gather first physically as we share in the nourishment of simple food.  We then gather spiritually as we slow our thoughts and open our awareness to each other and to our deepest selves. 
  • Opening: We then seek to deepen our awareness of the divine in our midst as we reflect upon scripture in its many forms. 
  • Offering: Finally we collect the resources we have been given and dedicate ourselves for service to each other and the will of God.

Integral:  While seeking to keep our common life simple, we acknowledge that reality can be quite complex.  We will discard nothing to create a false sense of harmony.  All things, all thoughts, all people, all perspectives have a place.

Christian:  Even as we are appreciative of all paths, we each can only walk one path at a time.  We follow in the Way of Jesus whom we affirm as the Christ.

Sensory:  Even as we seek a deeper apprehension of our divine nature, we relish and give thanks for the gift of our lives and the richness of sensory experience.  We seek to deepen our worship through graphic art, dance, music, touch, taste, and smell.

Liturgical: Generations have found paths to connect to the divine presence through observing the rhythms of nature and creating and participating in rituals to heighten our awareness of events both natural and historical.  We will let those generations teach us even as we create our own rituals and discover our own rhythms.

Progressive: Everything that lives grows.  Our faith is alive and we dare not smother it by trying to keep it in old wine skins.  God is still speaking.

Pentecostal:  Emotion is not the enemy of reason but the product of deep connection.  We seek to both deeply feel and fully express the movement of the Spirit in and through us.

Mindful: In a culture which always urges us to do more and more, we honor the gifts that come as we seek to simply be.  We listen to whatever arises in our awareness as an expression of Spirit worthy of our attention and then listen to the silence without expectation.

Relational: The most precious gift and the hardest discipline is the  creation and reconciliation of deep and durable relationships.  We relate to individual others in fellowship.  We relate collectively to the larger community through mission.  We relate to the sacred Will for all life through our openness to transformation.  God is Love.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


You are invited to join us for
Sacred Soup
a contemplative celebration of conscious connection in Christ

We first gather physically in the chancel of Danforth Chapel at Pilgrim Church for a simple but hearty lunch of soup and bread.  Thus fortified we gather ourselves emotionally and spiritually through meditation and chant, summoning the Peace of Christ and sharing that with each other.

We then open ourselves to the presence of the Word in the scripture of the canon and the other sources of God’s Speaking as the Spirit makes known to us.  We share that Word and interpret it to each other through preaching and conversation.

Thus fortified by material and spiritual food, we give our thanks by entering into covenant with each other for the ways we are in service to each other in harmony with and expression of God’s will for us.

We meet most Sundays with lunch set out shortly after noon and meditation beginning at 1:00.  Following our worship, the Sacred Soup team will meet to plan the service for the following week.  You are invited to stay and offer your gifts towards our common life.

Central to our worship is the conviction that we are called into relationship, not just with the divine presence, but with each other.  Indeed, it is through deep relationship with each other that we come to know the Spirit.  Having an ability to be profoundly present to ourselves and, at the same time, deeply present to each other is what we understand it means to be “In Christ.”  We seek in community with each other to build relationships which are safe and satisfying…which are deep and durable.  We invite you to join us.


Contact person: Rev. Dr. Mark Lee Robinson, 314-853-9385 [mobile]