st. lydia's dinner church

One of the aspects of life with University Hill Congregation that I have come to appreciate are all the meals. Not owning a church building means that we don't have a church in which to meet during the week. Yes, on Sundays we rent a wonderful chapel in which to worship. But on weekdays when we gather we need to find space. As a result we meet in homes and offices and restaurants. When we do we inevitably find ourselves sharing a meal. It is breakfast when we gather on Wednesdays at a restaurant to discuss scripture together. It is dinner when we meet in Janet's home for discussions about discipleship. Even our working sessions with committee work almost always involve a meal. Over the years we have been increasing our celebrations of the sacrament of the Eucharist - Communion - as we grow in our understanding of the ways in which Christ is present among us in the breaking of the bread. There was a period in our life as a congregation when two families hosted a household they named The Welcome Table through which they lived out a Eucharistic ministry of hospitality. Now the Campus Ministry that we partner with offers a weekly celebration of the Eucharist as part of its life as the Food and Faith Community. And every summer we host First Nations (Native American) leaders from near and far at an Agape Meal - a love feast - in which our desire to be reconciled with one another is symbolized and realized as we eat and pray and sing together. All of this leads me to wish I lived closer to Brooklyn, New York ...

That is because Brooklyn is where one can find St. Lydia's Dinner Church. I learned about St. Lydia's through my participation in Luther Seminary's Mid-winter Convocation in January. One of my fellow presenters at that event was Emily Scott, pastor of St. Lydia's. You can listen to Emily and Christian Scharen at the convocation telling the story of St. Lydia's here. During the time together at Luther we had an opportunity to experience the liturgical pattern of St. Lydia's. It is a wonderfully creative adaptation of early Christian worship within the hospitality of a simple home cooked meal. Emily & Chris tell the story well. So does the St. Lydia's website.

Looking at St. Lydia's plans for Holy Week just now I was struck by how similar they are to our plans for Holy Week here at University Hill Congregation. Brooklyn may be all the way on the other side of the continent but St. Lydia's feels close to home. So, if you happen to live within the vicinity of St. Lydia's I encourage you to pay a visit soon.

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