Tags: church: ecumenical summer: 2009

(hidden) wisdom

SCBC / Unity Church [2009-07-05]

At SCBC prayer group, Ross said that Emily had suggested we each name an attribute of God that we appreciate/are grateful for and we'll use that as a focus for our prayers today.  (I'm getting to think of this prayer group as sort of practicing different modes of praying, even though I'd sort of been hoping for more of what I imagined the prayer group my mom used to go to at UCN being -- i.e., really sitting in prayer with each other.)

Emily started and said Love, so then I said Grace (Love is obviously the single most defining characteristic of God as far as I'm concerned, but with that one having been said I had to come up with another one, and Grace has been much on my mind these past months).  Ross said he was gonna say Grace, so then he said Patience.
A couple people didn't seem to really understand the question and were basically like, "Coming to Jesus changed my life.  I love Jesus."  I recognize that not everyone's cognition powers are optimal, so I don't fuss too much at the talking past each other, but I still cannot grok that conversion experience.
David wasn't present, but Emily was doing the "Father God" thing.  Sigh.  I get that that's a totally legit way to understand God, but it's such an awkward construction (to be like, "We thank you, Father God, for...") that I can't get past that.

I forget what I said in the thrust of my closing prayer, but I remember saying, "because God is present for everyone."

***

Unity service is at 11am, so I went to Dunkin' Donuts and got second breakfast and came back and sat outside Unity reading in the bright sun until it got to be too much and I had to go inside.

Roza came in a bit after me (and we hugged like whoa) and we sat together and commented back and forth a little during service and debriefed afterward.

I... I can't even say "church: ur doin it wrong" because the frameworks within which it's operating are so different from any I'm used to.
It feels kind of UU, only it's more Biblically-inflected, and its major theme is the power of positive thinking, which I am wicked uncomfortable with.

On the front wall of the sanctuary, are three quotations:
"All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." -Christ Jesus
"God is love." -St. John
"Dive love always has met and always will meet every human need." -Mary Baker Eddy

There are paraments(?) hung along each wall, each a different color with a different word on each -- Life, Release, Zeal, Order, Will, Understanding, Imagination, Power, Wisdom, Strength, Love, Faith

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Smith College, Ainsley Hayes

The Crossing [2009-07-02]

I got there about twenty minutes early (T-ing from Harvard right after work).  There was a table with supplies for namecards, only I didn't see any empty name cards, so I just plopped myself down in a pew while folks set up the worship space. 

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***

At one point, I was telling Sue about how CAUMC-Eric thinks I should be a Phantom ChurchGoer and blog about it.  She mentioned Ship Of Fools, which once she mentioned it I realized I think I'd heard of before (she said she thinks it's run by Methodists, so that makes sense that I might have heard of it before).  It's a very specific questionnaire, so definitely different than Ari's 6-axis scale (liturgy, music, welcome, preaching, communion, GLBT-affirming).

***

This is the email I sent the following Tuesday: Collapse )
i do it for the joy it brings

and in the darkness, there is always joy

[redacted v. 2 -- vegetarian, !update]

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Intellectual Property class has In-Person Section on Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30 (when I am likely skipping World Religions class).

Harvard Summer Activities Language Table (at on-campus dinner, which I am probably ineligible for) is also on Tuesdays -- Spanish from 5-6 or 6-7 and Portuguese from 6-7.

Ooh, Rev.Steph from The Crossing is preaching at Memorial Church this Sunday.  Though actually, I could go to The Crossing this week and skip Early Buddhism.  Though I think she might not even be preaching this Thursday.  (Oh, and The Crossing has Centering Prayer on Tuesdays...)  Of course, I could just wait until August when Summer School is over and CAUMC is still in recess.

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I totally forgot that one of my friends works for a church until she asked if I wanted her to put B's family on their prayer list.

bff said, "half of my prayer list is your prayer list, which I think is kind of awesome"

The surprise bonus care package I sent last week arrived.

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Ben ordered his second favorite Finale cake by accident, which was fine by me as I prefer it to his actual favorite.  Al provided sparkling red wine from Italy.  I chatted with two new(ish)-to-me doctoral students and also with a bunch of the junior faculty.  It's really nice to not always be made of awkward.


Sidebar from lunch discussion: Sofra in Watertown apparently has a Chocolate Hazelnut Baklava.
moon house

continuing to plan my ecumenical summer

July 5 is LizL's installation at Waltham, so after that I have 6 Sundays (August 2 I'm at WriterCon, September 6 I'm at Convo, and some weekend I'm going up to FUH's place in Maine). This is not as many as I'd been thinking I'd have -- though admittedly it's more than, for example, Advent allots.

Before I'd realized this, I'd been doing Google searches to get a sense of what my options were in my area (translation: which denominations I haven't already attended have worship services in my area). And I found a bunch of churches that don't seem to have any denominational affiliation, and I've come to understand better why people react the way they do when I say that the church I grew up in was "non-denominational" (though apparently the current website says "interdenominational"). To me, the term has always meant simply that I don't have a denominational affiliation (which is still true, though I'll usually say "low-church Protestant" when pressed to describe myself, since that's a more accurate descriptor of the parts that are important to me), but now I have a better sense of what people are likely thinking of when they hear "non-denominational."

I was still thinking, "Why am I doing this?" I mean, I'm checking out churches I'm fairly certain going in I won't want to make my church home (or even a second church home -- since I already have a church home at CWM). Admittedly, some of it's just a sort of anthropologocal curiosity as to how other people do church.

Then I was doing some blogrolling and read a post about Annual Conference [the author is in Missouri; ours -- yes, CWM is "my" church, so more and more I think of United Methodism as "ours" ... sidebar: is CWM not listed because we're a "mission" of the Annual Conference, or is it just really outdated? -- is next week] and it occurred to me that one thing about visiting other churches is to explore why these churches are thriving, what it is their parishioners love about making their church home there. It's easy for us to say that more conservative churches are growing because people want certainty, and that explanation is actually one I'm more comfortable with now than I used to be, but I still think that can't be the whole answer.

I was feeling frustrated that all the churches I found that didn't have a denominational affiliation looked theologically conservative. Where are the radical congregations like Cambridge Welcoming? [And yes, I know CWM is very much a part of a denomination.] Before Rest and Bread tonight, Jeff mentioned Common Cathedral and Outdoor Church. Those are really places I should check out, to look at really non-traditional ways of doing church, really embodying the radical hospitality that Jesus lived out.

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I was looking at Highrock's website (I think they're friends with SCBC) and hey, sermon podcasts.

Title Prayer Month: The 7 S's of the Lord's Prayer
Date 05/17/2009
Speaker Gary Parrett

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moon house

I've been thinking about grace recently.

When Roza and I were walking around the Davis Square area this evening, we passed a Kingdom Hall (between Hope Fellowship Church and St. James's Episcopal Church).  I mentioned that I've been thinking of church-hopping on Sunday mornings this summer -- I'm kind of tired of CHPC and I haven't really church-hopped since I started at CHPC and CWM in early 2007 (I started to do an ecumenical summer in England in 2003, and I did ecumenical Advents in 2005 and 2006).  She said if I did decide to do that, to let her know 'cause she'd like to come with me -- which surprised me.  Being me, of course I'm developing a schedule.  I think I'm going to keep going to CHPC until LizL's installation at Waltham (which I want to attend) and then do Sunday morning church-hopping.  On my list so far: Unity Church (the only primarily-English-speaking church on College Ave. I haven't been to worship service at), Hope Fellowship, the Vineyard, [edit] King's Chapel (a UU church that uses a revised version of the 1662 BCP) [/edit].  (Suggestions welcome, of course.)  I'd also like go to The Crossing sometime -- which is Thursday night, which is problematic since that's CAUMC small group.  I think Sean said he's gonna be away in July and August; I'm not sure if that would be a better or worse time to bail on small group.

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