Wednesday, September 02, 2009

browsing worship: weaving space + event

You read this post. Well, more accurately, you browse this post. Time of your chosing, most likely juggling other inputs – music, cellphone. Some of you will be on RSS feeds or facebook, seeing the first few lines, wondering whether to click and read the whole lot. Might leave a comment. Might not.

We call this “browsing”; a feature of life today, adrift in a world of choice, gone 24/7. As such, this changing nature of engagement poses particular problems for Christian gathering, which tends to focus on one particular time. If you’re late, sick, distracted, working – then – it’s often – well – tough.

Which makes one of the Greenbelt 2010 offerings fascinating reading.

A space – open over an extended period, come as, when, you are, early or late.

A curated space – complete with stuff to look at, to do for all ages, to browse.

A spiraling labyrinth in the centre of the room. Images – an old man shovelling snow in a monastry – ambient mucis in background. Kids playing lego and colouring celtic saints. A wall of words for meaning making. Hanging fabrics, floor cushions. People sitting, kneeling, lying down, stretching, reading, writing, relaxing, meditating, thinking, reflecting. More participant description here

Times of set prayer – short spoken liturgies – Bible reading and prayer – at set times (in this case 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 3 pm, 5:30 pm) (for more see here).

Interactivity – in this case “fridge magnet prayers.” Fantastic idea. 840 words, drawn from a local congregational life, and the invitation for people to arrange them in prayers, which were then read during the “set prayers.” (I’d want to mix in some pictures as well though, just to keep it non-verbal)

This is browsing for sure, a space, yet with defined events that gather, make the whole greater than the individual parts.

I read this as a local pastor, thinking about what it would be like to create this as part of church life. Invite a person/s to create a space and to refresh that space regularly. Find a wordsmith (or borrow/beg from existing sources) and notify times of set prayer. Throw in a few changing stations that allow points of reflection (open Bible for that day’s lectionary reading, confession station, candles). Find a way for people to leave “solo” prayers that can be prayed during the set prayer times (could be a facebook page, a text service, a white board, fridge magnet liturgy.)

What about taking your Sunday, inviting some creatives to work on a centred, prayer space within your existing service and then advertising it as: All day space for prayer + times to gather. Start monthly and see what happens.
10:30 am – all age service
12:30 pm – talkback discussion of sermon
5:00 pm – communion
5:30 pm – soup for faith
6:30 pm – lectio divina
8:00 pm – Last words

Posted by steve at 04:07 PM


  1. As I read this I was listening to Bon Iver on songbird, and then I got a few tweets on my phone. I just thought it was funny. It def. made me want to read the rest of the post. haha.

    Comment by Danny — September 2, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

  2. Cheers Steve… Pics would be good too… We had a number of activities that evolved through the day, Legobricks, a sequencer which meant that the music itself was created by worshipers and was constantly changing, caligraphy where people transcribed bits of scripture making them slow right down and focus, writing letters to yourself which will be posted to you in 1 years time, along with loads of art materials etc and many Bibles spread around the room… Once I’ve uploaded my photos to Flickr I’ll post a link

    Comment by Mark B — September 2, 2009 @ 8:57 pm

  3. yes, that’s totally nailed my idea of “worship”.
    we should do church together sometime.

    Comment by craig mitchell — September 2, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.