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.