Presbyterians Today

FEB-MAR 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 51

24 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay Individually and in community, members of First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, are experiencing spiritual practices. "Our intention is to use spiritual prac- tices to grow and learn together," said Lisa Anderson, a church member who chairs the Antioch Group, a commit- tee that identifies possible ministries to expand the ways in which God is encountered. First Presbyterian, a congregation of 3,000, began holding contemplative services during Advent and Lent several years ago. That experience led to an exploratory group of people looking to grow deeper in their faith. Two years ago, the church created a spiritual practices calendar, offering the con- gregation a more-focused approach to journeying together. Each month, the church highlights a practice — some familiar and approached in a new way, such as com- bining prayer with a labyrinth experi- ence; others new, such as visio divina, a way of using images in prayer; and some often not thought of as a spiri- tual practice, such as hospitality and stewardship. The monthly practice is introduced through the church's magazine, website and social media, including sugges- tions for related reading and online resources. Then comes doing — explor- ing the practice in group activities. Last November, for instance, the spiritual practice was community. The congregation participated in a service of celebration and reconcilia- tion with a sister church, Saint James Presbyterian, which had been founded by former slaves who belonged to First Presbyterian. Community-building continued in November as the Presbyterian Women from both churches held a joint luncheon and members began organizing small dinner groups to meet throughout the year. In December, the focus was hospital- ity. One of the church's most popular outreach ministries is Hot Dish & Hope, a free dinner served to the hungry and homeless each Tuesday and Thursday. December brought other opportuni- ties: A local rabbi was invited to speak about Judaism in the time of Jesus. A multicultural meal took place in the church. A children's group celebrated at a Christmas party with children from Congolese immigrant families. Throughout February and March this year, in keeping with the spirit of the Lenten season, the church will focus on discernment, confession and self-examination. "Spiritual practices move us from head to heart," said Donna Chase, director of Christian formation. Not that the head is unimportant. For Presbyterians, however, that movement can be tough, Chase explained. "Spiritual practices help us develop a relationship with Christ that leads to a living out of the fruit of the Spirit," she said. "Becoming more like Christ is the whole purpose." Ann Alexander is communications director for First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro. Church creates a spiritual practices calendar BY ANN ALEXANDER PHOTO COURTESY OF ANN ALEXANDER Visio divina — praying with images — was introduced during Holy Week. The sanctuary was turned into an art gallery where the congregation reflected on the pictures. Soft music played in the background.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Presbyterians Today - FEB-MAR 2018