The planning team met following the service today. It consisted of me, Mark Barnett, Larry Gaines, and Carol Moakley. We agreed to the following modifications in the order.
Renaming “Joys and Concerns”
We value having the Sacred Soup event be distinctive. We want it to be different from the 10:30 worship. That being said, one of our favorite parts of the 10:30 worship is the sharing of joys and concerns. We want a similar sort of sharing of the things that are “on our hearts.” For that reason we are going to simply change the name of that part of the service to “Sacred Sharing.”
Because we want to encourage everyone to share as deeply as they are willing to do so and because deep sharing can make others anxious in ways that cause them to begin to do “caretaking” in a manner that can distance people, we will encourage ourselves to respond to deep emotional sharing by, “not helping each other feel better, but helping each other better feel,” and by, “not solving each other’s problems but sharing what we have each done to address similar problems.” In this way we are each invited to be centered in our own experience rather than in each other’s.
Re-framing the Meditation
The expository content portion of the service feels too much like a sermon and not enough like a conversation. This was especially true today because the event was aimed in part at teaching about the Holy Spirit for the Confirmands, but we want to create more interaction encouraging all to speak about their own experience.
My thought is to begin with a description of a “problem of living” which is something fairly universal. We may even be able to use a part of the guided meditation to “set up” the issue. As we wrestle with the issue and explore how it affects each of us, theological content can be inserted. But the theological consideration becomes an aid to how we respond to the issue, rather than the theology being a doctrinal pronouncement.
I am frankly not sure how I am going to pull this off. It is going to take some work to figure out how to structure it. For next week I am going to try this approach with the common issue of when we have two choices, each apparently equally good or bad, but also apparently mutually exclusive. How do we address this seemingly impossible situation?
Positioning of the “Passing of the Peace”
We want to have a bit more interaction before we greet each other. Especially because we will just have had lunch together, it is not as though we haven’t had a chance to say, “Hi.” It seems more appropriate to place this at the end as a sort of benediction. Thus the song after the Peace is a closing hymn and benediction.
We like the other aspects of the service and especially the chant. We will try other ones. The singing today was especially nice as we continued it longer and we had some voices adding harmony.