2/19/2011

All Church is Local: Worship together at Executive Council

More and more I believe all church is local. It can be a few people together for Eucharist on a cold Wednesday evening, hundreds together in a cathedral for a great Eucharist, a small community of committed folk saying daily prayers together, and it can be 50 or so people gathered in a conference room as Executive Council to say daily prayers and celebrate the Eucharist. 

A description of local church in un-local circumstances was given in the "Message from Executive Council to the Episcopal Church" just finished in Fort Worth:


ENS photo
"The Council was joined for the Eucharist at noon by the altar guild of St. Alban's Episcopal Church, which has been worshipping in Theater Arlington since being displaced from their building by people who left the Episcopal Church. They set up for worship as they do every Sunday, hauling in an altar and all the altar goods. The folk group from Trinity Episcopal Church of Fort Worth provided music for the service. Their efforts turned our otherwise ordinary meeting room into a worship space filled with joy and grace."

In her sermon, member Katie Sherrod, who is from Fort Worth, described how growing up in a small West Texas town taught her much about how diverse partakers of the feast to which we all are invited can become unexpected allies in our lives and struggles.

She spoke of the food that has sustained the Episcopalians in Fort Worth through times that looked "darker than midnight under a skillet," things such as the "grace, shield and hope of God's unlimited love [and] the delight of inviting others to the feast to which we've been invited."

These are the things, she said, that will sustain all of us as we seek reconciliation and renewal, not just in Fort Worth, but in the wider Communion. [The complete text of Sherrod's sermon is here.]"

Later that day we were saying our evening prayers together and I took this picture of the afternoon sun reflecting off a brass cross that was there throughout the time of our meeting. It is for me a reminder that all church is local and sometimes bright as the sun, and that we had church there.

It is hard for Council to be church, if only because there is so much business to attend to, but we do it, and when it happens with grace as it did in these days, we know that we are church - not grand or huge, but beautiful even in a conference room.

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