Just hoping you'll all keep us updated if you are hosting or know of any workshops exploring Emergent Church issues which happening this summer/fall...or if you know of any events or worship experiences that are in the works.  Let's just keep each other posted!

Also keep Church of our Saviour, Chicago youth in your prayers as they head off to Appalachia to do home repair...AND to live in the Spirit in all sorts of ways!

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Holy Trinity Belvidere did a hymn sing with Mass on the Grass for July 4th. The sermon, based on the hymn with the most parishioner votes, was Amazing Grace (ie singing without a sermon per se). We had a sax and trombone for musicians outdoors (sounded a little like Salvation Army band).
Prayers of the People were "Thanksgiving for National Life" from BCP. We use Euch Prayer 2 from EOW for this service, and so did it without a liturgical booklet by leaving out the creed, confession. Celebrant prayed the post communion prayer.
Hey hon!!!
Just got back from our church's (Church of Our Saviour, Chicago) 26th annual youth group work trip. This time, as we have many other years, we went to Appalachia. We worked like dogs during the day and had several wonderful evening spiritual experiences, including a "not Eucharist Eucharistic exploration" (not sure how else to describe it) on Friday evening...sort of a culmination of the week's experiences.

The service began with the "completion" of a cross members of the group had made...the hammering in of small copper nails...one person at a time to complete the work on the cross. This was underscored by an Iona community prayer which had stanzas and the communal request, "Come, Lord Jesus" and which continued until the waork on the cross was completed. The service itself continued based on an Iona Community evening service, which kind of covered the Liturgy of the Word...readings and the prayers of the people. A "Whisper Circle" served as the homiletical experience. Following communal prayers and readings, we continued with the telling of the story of the Cenacle (Betsy Peterson started with the Catechesis story and built on it powerfully and beautifully...took us all the way to resurrection...no notes, just fully in her body and from her soul). We then moved on to an "exploration" of the elements of the story...laid out simply and beautifully on a table...the bread, the wine, the light, elements of nature to represent the garden and, of course, the cross we had constructed together. People touched, smelled, tasted...all in silence. Then a blessing, with the movement of the cross into a little stand that had been constructed for it.

The whole thing was interspersed with music and we did more music following the blessing.

The sense of Spirit in that place was palpable and the kids did not want to leave...they stayed on the porch of this little house we were staying in (on which we'd done the service). They sat in front of the cross, they touched the things on the table, they finished the bread and the wine. They didn't want to leave. Several adults thought the same thing as we sat there with them, and we shared the thought afterwards..."We'd each felt the impulse for an altar call... in an Episcopal worship!" We didn't act on it, but you know, the Spirit did!

As part of the text of the Liturgy expressed it, "Lord, draw near, draw near, draw near and stay". I often think it funny (and sometimes a bit sad) that we ask God to "come by us" when God has been waiting not even a breath away... waiting for us to recognize God's presence...so very close. But I'll take it any which way...and boy was I thankful for the experience our youth (and adults) were having of being in "communion" with God.

Holy Spirit flowing...thanks be to God!

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