Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Gone a visiting

My friend Amy is in seminary and for a month, this summer, has been filling in as pastor at her church while the minister is on vacation.

I wanted to go see her preach, so on Sunday, instead of turning towards Providence, I made a beeline across Rt. 37 and drove up Reservoir Ave to a UCC church.

I pulled behind the church and was immediately struck by fact that the brick wall of the church forms a subtle v-shape in the center. Even from outside, I knew that was where the cross must hang inside. I loved the sense that the cross was 'busting loose' through the stonework of the building. It felt powerful, to me. So often in church's of that vintage (1970's, maybe?) the architects were so busy interpreting their designs to be 'modern' they often failed to communicate any real religious meaning. But this worked.

Amy preached from bullet points, drawing us in with her conversational style. Challenging us to remember that our own stories of conversion, whatever they might be, are heroes stories. The hero being Jesus and we being the sidekick. This struck a cord for me. I am often shy about sharing my story.

The liturgy reminded me of my old UU church. There was a meditation piece. The sharing of joys and concerns. Announcements at the beginning of the service rather than in the middle, as we do in the Episcopal church. I found myself missing communion, of course. I had prepared ahead of time by going to church on Wednesday at noon, but still, I have grown so used to the Eucharist as the central element of worship it seems that a service without it is missing something, LOL. I told Amy I am a liturgy hound and I think it is true.

It was wonderful seeing my friend in the pulpit. You could tell that the congregation loves her, and she them.


Anonymous said...

Dear Rachel,
I was so honored that you went out of your way to visit! Part of me was just bubbling over with joy knowing that at least three separate churches within the body of Christ were represented there. Only communion could have made it better. :)

I can hardly put into words my love for this congregation- and even though I loved them before our month long journey- there is something incredible about the growth of the relationship when you really start to rub each other's rough edges. They have been 100% supportive and encouraging, and still loving enough to poke & prod me further along my journey to ordained ministry. They are everything I could have asked and more than I had dreamed (and with only 1 official day left, I have the luxury of finishing while all is well!)


Rachel's Big Dunk said...

I was honored to be there, girl!