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

1 comment:

  1. Concerns about “Sacred Soup:”

    Meeting on Sunday, even or especially at a different time than the 10:30 worship, will be a form of competition. Very few people will take the time to do both. We may siphon people away from our primary worship experience. Maybe we should do this at another time as, for example, on Thursday evening.

    This is not something that will be available to families with small children as there is no provision for kids and they will not be able to sit and meditate. Without tables people with strength and coordination issues will not be able manage a bowl of soup, a hunk of bread, and a cup of whatever beverage. Are there ways to be more inclusive?

    This style of worship is very different from what we do on Sunday morning or what happens at New Life. Are we being critical of other styles of worship and thus being elitist? As it happens, the planning team has only white members. Are we being too narrow in our scope?