The community I serve has been devastated by the tragic deaths of two teenage girls last month and, as we all know, there has been a lot of grief/violence/death in the world.
i had the bright idea of creating space to ‘Pause’ in the sanctuary in one of the churches while we had our annual Strawberry Supper. A place to simply sit and be for a few minutes. A way to connect with the wider community who may never come to church on a Sunday morning. I spoke to the members of the worship committee who endorsed the idea, then went ahead.
I made up these flyers to have on the tables and at a few places around the community. It went out on social media.
I set up the centre of sanctuary with a circle of chairs (we don’t have pews!) with low tables that held stones to hold, candles to light, peace cranes to make (one of the members made over a dozen for one of the tables) and labyrinths to trace. I created a power point presentation of inspirational/hopeful memes that I had collected, along with classical music backed by the sounds of the ocean.
I enlisted another member of the worship committee to share in ‘hosting ‘ the space. I felt a great deal of vulnerability as this is outside what I have done in the past and outside what this faith community has done.
People started to arrive for the Strawberry Supper… and as is the custom in many churches, they arrived early, bought their tickets, then came and sat in the sanctuary to wait for the doors to the hall to open. A few came and joined me in the circle of chairs, but most sat off to one side in one section and greeted each other and started to catch up with people they may not have seen for a while. The noise level increased as more people arrived and my quiet, meditative space was NOT how I had envisioned it.
A few years ago, I may have become upset and angry at my plans not coming to fruition in the way I had imagined… but the combination of Spiritual Director’s training and Interim Ministry Training, I was able to become curious rather than angry and wondered if this was a manifestation of the Spirit… the resilience and engagement of people who are connected by family and time that I can only imagine. The doors to the hall opened, and the people left. My quiet meditative space was meditative once more.
I don’t know how many people came and sat for a few minutes… I do know that there was much appreciation expressed and people of all ages came… from teens to seniors… people who stayed for a moment and others who stayed for quite a while… people who are part of the faith community and people who are not. And the Spirit laughed, this time softly.