We have swung the publicity campaign into full gear. Posters are going up around the neighborhoods, and an email campaign has started. It’s time for some of the nuts and bolts decisions to be made.
The biggest so far is where to have the liturgy. We have a large, gothic sanctuary, which is beautiful but not very flexible. Pews are fixed and the altar is against the wall. There is really no room for instruments. They never envisioned anything more than the organ when they designed the space. Those are just some of the minuses.
The pluses are that the sound system and the piano is there already. The drums and the guitars are portable. There has been some grumbling about drums and such in the sanctuary, but that’s been isolated. We can always set up a free-standing altar for the liturgy.
I guess my biggest concern is expectations the sanctuary imposes on the liturgy. The idea for this liturgy is to help all of us relate to our worship experience in a new way. That includes how the Good News is communicated in a new way and how we might be an inclusive community through this liturgy. Some sacred cows are sure to bite the dust here. Trying to do all that in the sanctuary may be the equivalent of new wine into old skins.
My inclination now is to set up the auditorium downstairs into a worship space. That poses a different set of logistical challenges, but at least it puts everyone on equal footing. Everyone already has an experience and an idea of worship in the sanctuary. Whatever happens will be judged against that experience. No one knows quite what to expect from a liturgy in the auditorium though.
As March 1st draws nearer, I am feeling more than ever how important this initiative is for our congregation and our community. There is so much division, fear and isolation in our communities, and it can be so strong, even within our own congregation, the resistance to something new and unknown. Still, the Spirit blows where it will. I pray our sails are set in the right direction on March 1.