Presbyterians Today

APR-MAY 2018

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36 APRIL/MAY 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay one. The Book of Common Worship says that "Worship is the principal influence that shapes our faith, and is the most visible way we express the faith. … In an age dominated by individualism and secularism, it is particularly important to embrace forms of worship that are firmly rooted in the faith and foster a strong communal sense of being united with God, with the community of faith in every time and place, and with a broken world in need of God's healing touch. In other words, the concern for the reform of worship is, above every- thing else, a concern for the renewal of the church." Start small As with any change in a church, it is prudent to ease worshippers into a new way of being and to start with small experiential worship ideas. "The challenge is to give people enough information without coddling those who are fearful," said Larson- Wolbrink, adding, "even a small con- gregation you can create some pretty powerful experiences for people." For example, for the Baptism of the Lord (in January), Ash Wednesday and during the Christmas and Easter seasons, Weirich puts pretty stones or glass pebbles in the baptismal font and invites people to come forward to receive the sign of the cross with water on their forehead or their hand. They then can reach into the water and take an object. She has noticed that people often hold the object in their hand with a sense of wonder. Weirich also has a "reverse offering" after the traditional Christmas Eve offering is collected. "We pass out baskets with little candies, and have everybody take one to remind them of the sweetness of Christ. You can hear the paper rustling. It is beautiful," she said, offering a word of advice. "The first time we did this we had different kinds of candy, and it seemed to take forever for people to choose one. Now all the candies are the same." Sometimes, though, just helping people to become mindful of their worship space is enough to connect the body with the soul. "People can become conscious of where they are — the people around them, the smells, the soft clicking of the heating vent, the sound of children in the Sunday school room, the taste and texture of the Communion bread," Rossi said, adding, "Maybe they can notice the way their heart feels when there's a moment of appreciative silence right after the choir finishes singing a beautiful anthem." What happens when people go to those deep places? "I see tears flowing more freely. People linger. They come back," Larson-Wolbrink said. Leslie Mott is a pastor, retreat leader, spiri- tual director and yoga teacher. She is the coordinator of the Pastoral Sabbath Retreat at Stony Point, New York. COURTESY OF FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH The baptismal font is used weekly at First Presbyterian Church. Children come forward with cups of water to fill the pitcher. A child then takes that pitcher and fills the font with the water. T HOUSANDS of Churches and Youth Groups fund raise with Rada Cutlery each year! Your FUNDRAISER will sell: • Kitchen Knives, Utensils and Gift Sets • Cookbooks, Quick Mixes and Kitchen Helpers Request your FREE catalog and information packet: 1-800-311-9691 or NOTE: Dept A18PRS Fund Raising 1. 40% PROFIT 2. USA KITCHEN ITEMS 3. EASY SYSTEM

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