Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Re-imagining 9 o'clock worship -- Update!

This summer we’ve taken on the exciting task of re-imagining how we worship God in the 9 o’clock hour at Christ Church Cathedral. The most important work has been done. We have had two excellent, well-attended conversations, had great discussions, prayed together and gathered lots of data. During the second of those meetings, we affirmed five principles as the core of what about the life of Christ at the Cathedral we wanted this liturgy to communicate:

Unifying – make us one congregation

Inclusive – accessible and engaging for all ages

– not a passive experience

Traditional, not traditionalistic
-- “tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living” (Jaroslav Pelikan) We want the deep roots of our tradition to feed the growth of something new.

– “invite-able” … an experience of God in community we’re excited about sharing.

Put another way, this is who we believe Christ to be/this is the Christ we seek to encounter and help others encounter:

Christ the reconciler - Christ draws us together to the table, unites us, heals our divisions
Christ the barrier-breaker - Christ tears down the barriers that separate us, speaking the Gospel to each of us in our own language, inviting all to follow him

Christ the challenger and engager - Christ who doesn't let us sit back and let others do the heavy lifting. Christ who knows that as we give, so we receive. Christ who says "you give them something to eat," "follow me," "take, eat, remember," and "go and make disciples of all nations."

Christ the fulfillment of the Law - Christ who stands in the long tradition of the Church but is always meeting us and remaking us in new ways and bringing new Truth out of the truth we have learned and known.

Christ the irresistible, Christ the joyful, Christ the Way, the Truth and the Life - Christ whose power cannot be contained, that is magnetic in its joy and entices us to draw others in.

So now we have our task ... how do we construct an Episcopal liturgy that communicates that this Christ is alive here and that draws all into deeper relationship with him? For that next step, a small group has been called to continue to listen to the congregation and construct the liturgy itself. Provost Kinman, Canons Fenner and Partridge, Lorraine Kee, Dave Malek, Bob Lewis, and Debbie Nelson Linck have agreed to serve on this design team … and many others have signed up to offer their gifts as part of this ongoing process.

That group is already praying and talking about how to communicate this in worship. On Sunday, August 16 at 9 am, the design team will lead the congregation through the next stage of honing the liturgy. It’s possible the weeks between then and Celebration Sunday will give us a chance to “test drive” possible pieces of this service to see how they work.

Please keep this work in your prayers. And if you have gifts you would like to offer to this worship service, please contact Canon Fenner at

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