Last Sunday, I had the joy of celebrating the commissioning of Sarah Huber as an Associate in Ministry. Together with the people of Sanctuary in Marshfield, MA, along with members of Harborside United Methodist Church, and a number of clergy and supporters from around the New England Synod, we prayed, sang and communed our way into another chapter for this new mission start.
The worship was an example of how a four fold approach to the liturgy can manifest itself in a new way. Gathering music, Proclaimed Word, Sacramental Meal and musical Sending formed the framework of the worship. But creative use of new songs and rearranged hymns lead by a full band gave this casual yet sacred worship a unique character.
Pastor Mark Huber (below) explains the time of confession and forgiveness, where participants are invited to come forward and pick up a stone leaving it at the altar, as a sign of confession, and light a small votive candle, as a rememberance of Christ's forgiveness.
Pastor Rachel Tune of Wittenberg University presides at Holy Communion
I preached and presided at the laying on of hands for the commissioning
Sarah receives a symbol of her unique gifts of music ministry.
Sanctuary is an example of a new congregation, and a glimpse of the NeXt Church 2.0. We can see here some of the new ways God is shaping ministry for a new generation. Music, yes, but more than that, the space and the design is simple, flexible and creative. (see a few photos below) But, even more than that, it is being built on a highly relational framework. This is not church as organized non-profit with committees and heavy structure. THis is church as network, partnership and relationship building. Here is the key thing: It's not rocket science. Contact Mark and Sarah, and ask them what they are doing. THe answer will not be some fancy schmancy new program, my guess is that it will be an answer that involves connecting with people, understanding the unique culture in their neighborhood and building a relational web of pilgrimage exploration on the modern road to Emmaus.
An old piano that died, is resurrected with keys and other parts for a creative design.
Old discarded silverware helps with signage around the building.
Cranes decorate a wall space.
The inside mosaic wall decorated for the Easter and Pentecost season (above)
(below) The building from the outside, a 1960's protestant style church building, once the home of a United Methodist congregation, now the home of Sanctuary and Pudding Hill Preschool. Evidence that you can do amazing things in an old space on a limited budget.