It is important for us to know the why's behind the things we do. This list of practices and descriptions is not exhaustive, but it gives you a good idea of who we are and why we do what we do.
Why We Sing
One: Friends and Folks, why do we sing? One reason we sing is because it is fun.
All: Singing enlivens us. Singing is creative and rhythmic. Singing is fun!
One: Good people, why do we sing? We learn by singing.
All: Singing is a form of teaching that uses poetry to open us to God.
One: Beloved, why do we sing? We sing because it brings us together.
All: In unison and harmonies, we breathe together, listen closely, express ourselves individually, and also unify our voices as one.
One: Folks, why do we sing? Share one word that describes why we sing together
All: [Everyone has an opportunity to share one word about why we choose to sing.]
Why we acknowledge the Catawba People
We pause to pay attention to our surroundings and acknowledge God as Creator. We acknowledge the history of this place. We proclaim the reason why this all matters to us and what we hope to do about it. We yearn to know and share in the mystery of God’s unending love. In recognizing that this land is colonized indigenous territory that has been crafted through slave and indentured labor, it is our collective responsibility to critically interrogate the histories of these events, and to honor, protect, and sustain this land. We remember the reason why we are here. Through acknowledgement, confession, and repair, we take responsibility for embodying God’s holy peace.
Why we practice contemplation
Our community has expressed a need and desire to practice contemplative disciplines so that we may be able to quiet the mind, connect with God, and grow in our ability to be attentive to the Spirit of Life. When we gather, we try to leave time and space for guided, quiet, or creative contemplation or meditation.
Why folks are invited to respond
The Spirit of God works within us and speaks to us in so many ways. When we encounter God in big and small ways, it is good to listen, pay attention, notice, and bear witness to one another. The good news of our Living God is that we get to share the experience of God in community with one another. This practice manifests in a very real way how God’s word is active, evoking a response from Her people, and how God’s word is spoken in a multitude of ways.
Folks may be invited to respond in a variety of ways including: dialogical preaching, sermon talk back, answering questions of resonance, journaling, or offering prayer requests or prayers.
Why we use the Women's Lectionary for the Whole Church (year w- 2023) by Dr. Wilda Gafney
The Women's Lectionary for the Whole Church provides us liberatory vocabulary for the names and pronouns of God. It also helps us to have a fresh perspective on scripture passages. This lectionary is both inspirational and challenging and provides helpful preaching prompts and commentary.
Why we check in
We value everyone's voice and want to listen to and acknowledge each person gathered. The check in time offers us an opportunity for everyone to quickly share a small tidbit about themselves. As our group grows, we may have to adapt our check in process to make room for other elements of worship, but for now, everyone is encouraged to share their name and answer the prompt question. There's always room to pass if you don't want to share.
Why we do communion this way
Every time we gather, we center ourselves around the Holy Feast. At this feast table, there is a place for everyone. The feasting is real and tangible and it also points us to the Divine Mystery of God's Abundant Spirit working in ways we do not understand. None of us fully understand the miracle that is at work at the table. We do not need to understand in order to receive with joy and thanksgiving. In receiving, we are made whole.
We come to the table to gather alongside others- here and across time and space- who refuse, deny, or doubt the totalizing claims of the Empire. We are joined by others who continue to keep imagining and attempting alternative modes of life. In prayer, gathering, serving, sharing, eating, and drinking, we keep experimenting with the strange and holy virtues of abundance, justice, generosity, trust and welcome. We watch what takes shape and celebrate the God of Wonder who draws us together into community, neighborliness, and the common good.
When we come to the table, we remember and mirror the actions of Jesus, who gathered his followers together for a feast. At the supper table, he passed around the bread and asked them to take more, for in Christ, there is always enough. He reminded them to remember every time they broke bread to remember him. Then, he shared the cup, full and overflowing, reminding them of his everlasting love and the goodness of God’s promise. He asked them to remember him as they drank from the cup.
We begin communion with a call to the table and the words of institution. We take turns serving one another bread of life and cup of the new covenant by intinction until all- at any age- who would like to have received. We acknowledge that this is one way we show forth the story of our faith, the Divine Mystery of our God, and our connection to one another. We continue feasting with snacks and conversation before moving to other elements of our worship gathering.
Why we ring bells and light candles
Sound and Light change the energy (waves) within a space. When we ring a bell or light a candle, we physically and spiritually shift our attention to the Creator,