Can worship be playful and prayerful? Rowdy but righteous? Full of faith and fun?
Doubting Thomases, meet Common Threads: An Intergenerational Worship Series. Radically inclusive and highly participatory, Common Threads uses a stations model of worship and focus on storytelling to connect congregations across generations and abilities. Over four services – themed on joy, sorrow, hope, and change – participants engage in creativity, conversation, and worship, considering their own experience in light of Scripture. Each one-hour service culminates in Holy Communion.
Common Threads uses a worship format known as traditioned innovation. Each service follows a traditional four-fold worship pattern of gather, read the Word, respond to the Word, and celebrate Eucharist together. But much of the action takes place at worship stations designed to promote accessibility, choice, and interconnectedness in what planners describe as “parallel worship/play.” Tables (“stations”) for art making, drumming, guided storytelling, and discussion of short reflections surround a Communion table set in the middle. Services open with song and liturgy, and close with communion and a song, but in between, in lieu of a sermon, worshipers engage the day’s Scripture and theme by rotating among the stations.
During an evening devoted to the theme “Change,” a young man listens intently as an older man recounts his faith journey. In the drum circle, two young boys and two older men take turns changing up the beat. Drumming increasingly faster, they dissolve into peals of laughter. In the far corner, a table full of older women reflect on a passage from Frederick Buechner’s Listening to Your Life about the March on Washington in 1963–then share their own remembrances of attending that event. Pens, crayons, beads, and pencils are shared about the art station along with Scripture reflections and life stories.
The paperless music and paperless liturgy of Common Threads promote inclusive worship: Dispensing with the heavy hymnals and prayer books that can prove challenging for younger and older people alike, worshipers engage eye to eye. Stations allow younger and older participants to share their thoughts about the Scripture and theme, without any shame or trepidation about not being able to sit still through a long service The traditioned innovation extends to the Eucharist, too, with built-in moments for participant responses.
Common Threads is available as an on-demand course through the School for Christian Faith and Leadership. It includes a downloadable Common Threads guidebook containing four original liturgies and original music, plus six short instructional videos. On March 16th, the creators of the series will demonstrate how to conduct Common Threads at a live Zoom workshop. Register here.
Common Threads was developed by Seabury Resources for Aging®. Funding came from Vital Worship Grants from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Michigan, with funds provided by Lilly Endowment, Inc. Seabury partnered with area Episcopal and United Church of Christ congregations in piloting the series at Seabury at Friendship Terrace and Seabury at Springvale Terrace, senior living communities in Metro DC.
Tell Me the Truth About Racism is a story that frames racism through the lens of Christian faith for children aged 5-12. Leaders Will Bouvel and Jen Holt Enriquez, first built the foundation of this work in Lent 2021 to teach to children at churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. Soon thereafter they began training other Christian formation leaders to do this work in their own churches.
Tell Me the Truth About Racism is respected throughout the church and received a Becoming the Beloved Community grant from the Episcopal Church. The entire training is 7 sessions. This 2-hour workshop, sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington is an opportunity to learn more about the training and to discern if it is a good fit for your community.
The workshop takes place at Diocesan Church House on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Lunch will be provided. The event is free and open to all. Registration is required. You can register on the learning hub here or at learn.edow.org.
“The past several years have reminded me that there are many people who don’t know much about Matthew’s story despite the close connection here at the Cathedral.” – Rev. Patrick L. Keyser, Priest Associate National Cathedral
The Meaning of Matthew is more than a retelling of horrific injustice that brought the reality of inequality and homophobia into the American consciousness. It is an unforgettable and inspiring account of how one ordinary woman turned an unthinkable tragedy into a vital message for the world.
Join the LGBTQIA Alliance for a discussion of Judy Shepard’s book “The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed.” Lead by The Rev. Patrick L. Keyser, Priest Associate.
This is a hybrid event available both online via Zoom or in person at National Cathedral’s Library. Free Registration: tinyurl.com/TheMeaningOfMatthewS
Connect, pray, engage, and refresh with other formation leaders from EDOW.
Rhythms of life are changing for many families. In this climate, the traditional models of Sunday School and Youth Group aren’t always as life-giving as they were in the past. This means that Christian formation leaders, whose ministry is to help form young people as Christians, are shifting their ministerial approach. That takes energy, creativity, and trust in the Holy Spirit.
Communities of support – colleagues in ministry – also help. To this end, the diocese is sponsoring an in-person retreat for formation leaders who work with children and/or youth. Held at the Claggett Center Friday, Nov. 4 through Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, the retreat is an opportunity for formation leaders to connect, pray, engage, and refresh. There will be ample time in the agenda for community building as well as personal retreat space. Participants will stay in private rooms at the Christiane Inn and have access to the center’s beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces, including walking trails and a labyrinth.
Retreat attendance is limited to 20 participants. Any formation leader in the diocese working with children and/or youth is welcome to participate. Registration will close once all spots are full. This retreat will take place Fri. Nov. 4 at 2 pm to Sat. Nov. 5 at 2pm.
The retreat costs $50 which covers room, board, and materials.