I’ve been looking into the simple church/house church movement as an opportunity for Universalist Christian church growth (hi Derek!) but more about that later.
For now, the question of how a small church — “conventional” or house-based — would worship remains. I am not thrilled with the “anything is worship” (both from Unitarian Universalist and Christian postmodern sides) or the “charismatic meltdown” options that I seen. So let me start with resources, and the pleasing worship that came out of UNMC’s summer experience.
We worshipped in the parlor instead of the sanctuary, and didn’t have a pianist for the hymns. All of the parlor-based services were lay-led. It wasn’t what we usually do (though the liturgy was about the same) but it certainly did felt real and nourishing. It was well within the scope of a house church, and would be good, even if simplified a few notches.
So, what kind of resource would you want “in the pews” for a church that worships like that all the time, and, of course, has no pews.
Which hymns? Which psalms? Anything else? Since there is a Universalist worshipbook tradition that is finally getting some recognition, I need to ask: would a worshipbook be useful? And what would be in it?
I have ideas, but I’ll let you, the reader, add your comments first.
Blogrolling seems to be taking a powder. The Blo.gs feed, though imperfect, is better in listing the blogs in order of their being revised. I’ll try it for a week and will report back my findings.
I’ve given my poor neglected website, UniversalistChurch.net, the “parent” of this blog, some needed repairs. I think all the links work — none will shoot you off the now-lost UniversalistChurch.org domain — though there’s much cosmetic work to be done.
If you see a bad link, please let me know in the comments.
I know you must be thinking “Scott’s flipped his lid” or “The secrets of Universalism are encoded here somehow” — no, this is an appeal for institutionalizing folk knowledge about creating fellowship meals for smallish churches.
My current church has at least one electric 18-quart turkey roaster. So did my last church, and, in fact, nearly every church kitchen I’ve seen has evidence of the kind of white enamelled roaster — “the kind grandma used” — and evidentally bequeated to churches.
A lot of hot food can be made in one of those roasters, which is really more of a table-top oven. That food could be the anchor for a really fun church meal. The sad thing is that there is little online advice as to how to use them, particularly for low-fat, vegetarian, or any non-middle-American cookery. Think of this as a wish for some more very practical theology.
There is a link below to a few helpful recipes I’ve found, but here’s the real deal: I’ll offer a template and some space here at Universalistchurch.net for anyone who is willing to host a page, for at least a year and with a particular focus on church-friendliness, on “turkey roaster” cookery.
Add a comment if you’re interested.
Dinner for fifty
If I was planting a church, or rather, encouraging a culture of church planting in the UUA, I would encourage a gander at those smallish and medium-sized denominations that have a passion about extending the Gospel through new congregations. From there, we should take notes about their attitude, even more than their practices.
I was online looking up websites that include the phrase “Universalist National Memorial Church” (finding friends, finding slanderers, whatever) and found a nice biography of my predecessor (1939-1987) Seth Rogers Brooks, on the Beta Theta Pi website. He was the fraternity’s General Secretary from 1950 to 1960.
By coincidence, this is his death anniversary, and keeping with my practice of marking “the death of the saints” I make this link (also to be added to the church website at its next update):
Seth Rogers Brooks
I’ve found two sources of modern liturgies I hadn’t seen before.
Neither makes me jump for joy; the UCC liturgies in particular are rather frosty and the gender-inclusive actions, however well intended, are a bit clunky. (And I detest the New Century Hymnal.
The WCC “Lima Liturgy” of 1982 was ground-breaking, liturgically interesting, but now seems a bit precious.
I think this is the first time they’ve each been available online.
Welcome a friend of mine (and Demosthenian alum) who has a new blog, Republic of T
Watch and Pray (Derek Parker) talks about church extension. I’ve been looking over the snippets of notes about a hypothetical church start, and helpful resources great and small that come from a few years of well, note taking. (Call it my mental hobby before blogging, and some are good for established churches, too.) Call this and other entries with the same title (numbered in series) links to helpful resources.
Apart from changing planes at O’Hare, I’ve never been to Chicago: never have been to the Art Institute, never have ridden the El, and never have visited much less attended a certain double-initialed Unitarian Universalist-related seminary.
Last night, in a new members’ orientation, I told a U of Chicago grad-soon to be new member that I didn’t go because of the weather. (We’re having the first touch of fall in Washington.)
Matthew Gatheringwater rather coveniently spells out one of the two more compelling reasons I chose against Meadville/Lombard in his entries, “Pardon Me, I’m a Unitarian” and “Mysteries.” (The other was the cost of attending.)