by Rev. Erica Thompson
Our church community opened our program year with the theme “Wading into Deeper Waters.” In September, we celebrated PRIDE Sunday and in October we had a worship service centered on Incarceration and Redemption. Each service was prayerfully and thoughtfully planned and created through the lens of our church’s affirmations: Inquiry, Acceptance, and Impact.
Inquiry – we are not a church confined by rigid dogma or doctrine, rather we are a place where the questions matter, a place where we bring our whole selves and are honest about what we are struggling to understand.
Acceptance – we are a church whose doors and hearts are open to all God’s people. We believe the rich and diverse expressions of our humanity make us better, and allow us to live into God’s beloved community.
Impact – we are a church which trusts that the only way forward is by embracing our diversity, even when it’s hard, and in doing so we believe we can help transform and change the world we live in.
In November, we will have two opportunities for Deep Water Sundays: on November 10 (Veteran’s Sunday) we will focus on the epidemic of homelessness as it relates to our nation’s veterans, and on Sunday, November 17, we will focus on Race and Racism.
… and it doesn’t end there! Beloveds, one of the questions that I have been asking in partnership with AHCC’s professional staff, the Board of Deacons, the Growth Team, and past moderators and leaders of this historic church, is “What does the worship experience need to look like as we move into the future together?”
What changes could we make which would allow for expanded inquiry; what do we need to do to make sure acceptance isn’t just a lovely idea; how can our worship lead to greater impact in the world?
To that end, I would love to ask you to consider two thoughts/questions:
1. Right now, I would say we have a singular way of worshiping at AHCC. We have two worship services which are almost identical to one another, both on Sunday mornings. What if we were to add variety? What would that look like? Could we worship at different times, on different days of the week, in different locations, speaking different languages, partnering with others? The possibilities are numerous and I would ask you to think creatively and “out of the box” of our current worship model.
2. If we were to consider our 10:15am Sunday worship service our “anchor” service, meaning that which we hold onto and does not change, what could the Sunday experience look like at AHCC? What other worship, programming, and fellowship opportunities might be possible if we were to have one service on a Sunday morning? Again, think creatively.
The times in which we live call us from the safety of our comfortable shores into the unknown, into deeper water. Friends, as a community of faith we must wade out boldly and courageously, taking some risks, knowing that some new things will work, and sometimes they won’t. We can’t be afraid to fail, rather we must be ready to learn. And even more than that – we have to ready ourselves for a future more glorious than our imagining!
So come be a part of November’s Deeper Water Worship and invite a friend to come with you.
And take some time to think about the questions I’ve posed. If you are so inclined, send me your thoughts and/or creative ideas. I’d love to hear from you!