Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Comfort Food Potluck Worship

Join us this Sunday, October 3, and bring your favorite comfort food to the Community of Travelers 5 PM worship at St. Aidan's. This week we will meet downstairs in the parish hall for a shared meal in the context of the worship service. You can enter the building via the Diamond Heights Blvd. entrance. We will provide drinks and salad. Invite your friends and bring a covered dish, with something in it of course!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Reflection on the "Community of Travelers"

by Aubrey Harmon

Walking into the sanctuary for the first meeting of the Community of Travelers, I was nervous. In the last few years I’ve been to church maybe a dozen times. I have a deep desire to find my spiritual home, but I had yet to find a place where all of my pieces (bisexual, woman, mother, spouse-of-an-atheist, Christian) fit. I had attended church services at St. Aidan’s twice, where I met the Rev. Tommy Dillon. At one of St. Aidan’s events – Sacred Cocktails, I heard the Rev. Megan Rohrer speak, and was inspired by her story. Knowing that both would be leading the Community of Travelers, I had hope that would find the oft-searched for home.

Before the gathering, Tommy asked me to do a reading and most of my nervousness focused on whether I’d be able to do so without getting tongue-twisted. I tend to shyness. I should not have worried.

Queen Michelle Jordan opened the service with a song, and as she walked among us, barefoot and singing, I was brought to my center. My fears faded and I felt welcomed with open arms and open hearts. I was able to be present as we all came together to create something new.

The sanctuary was arranged in a more communal fashion than I had seen before. The altar was brought into the center of the room, and we sat in a semi-circle around it. Both Tommy and Megan sat among us during the service, which helped to dismantle any wall that might be between us. There were hundreds of pennies arranged around the altar in a large circle – almost a heart shape.

The theme of the service was being both lost and found, and being valued as children of God. Megan gave a short sermon – speaking about finding the pennies in the Tenderloin of San Francisco, one of the most poverty-stricken neighborhoods. Even in such a place, pennies were lost, forgotten, ignored. Until someone noticed, picked them up, valued them.

I have felt lost and unseen in much of my life. I am encouraged that this will be a place where I will be heard, seen, and valued by fellow Christians and God. It will also be a place where I am able to hear, see, and value those around me.

We were encouraged to take time to either join small group activities (discussion of the readings or creating an icon) or to do something individually, as we were moved. I was drawn to light a candle for an ailing family member, then prayed before an icon, and then joined the small group discussion. I felt unrestricted and as though I could contribute to the whole, even as I moved from one place to another.

When we all came together as a group, I felt as though we were in the presence of something larger than our individual selves. The Eucharist, where we each shared the wine with one another, was Communion in a way I hadn’t experienced before. When I went out at the end of the service, I spent much of the evening attempting to put into words what I had felt as I shared with my family and friends.

I am deeply excited about what this service is, what it will be, and what I can bring to the table. And I am thankful to Tommy, Megan, and Deacon David and everyone who had a part in creating the Community of Travelers.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Clips from tonight's Community of Travelers service

Gathering Song - Here in this Place (Gather Us In)

Breakout Station - Art

Offering Song - Holy is the Lamb

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Icon Created at the C.O.T. First Worship Service

Icon collage made at the first "Community of Travelers" worship service. Join us sunday, 5pm at St. Aidan's to see what we're making this week.. bring some green cloth if you've got some.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Becoming a New Community of Faith

By The Rev. Deacon David Stickley

We went on our maiden voyage Sunday evening at 5:00. It was amazing, and wonderful, and didn’t really look like what I thought it might. I remember in the planning stages several months ago, Tommy Dillon played a song for us that inspired the name of our new group, “The Community of Travelers.”

Well I can't tell you where I'm going, I'm not sure of where I've been 
But I know I must keep travelin' till my road comes to an end 
I'm out here on my journey, trying to make the most of it 
I'm a puzzle, I must figure out where all my pieces fit 
Like a poor wayfaring stranger that they speak about in song 
I'm just a weary pilgrim trying to find what feels like home…

Aren’t we all?

I’m not sure I’m ready to reflect on Sunday evening just yet, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how we got there. Part way during the planning stages I went to the east cost to visit family. I was sitting in the SFO airport next to my partner, waiting for an update on our flight, which was delayed. I watched all the people walk by on their journeys and impulsively texted my friend: “It’s a parade of bad and non-fashion at the SFO airport.” It seemed harmless enough at the time, as things so often do when we’re in the moment. What made me think of this was the number of times, during our process to get to Sunday evening, we heard from people that the way they had successfully modeled an emerging church experience was the way that we should do it too. I flashed back to sitting in the airport, my choice of clothing having been informed by 18 years of retail clothing experience and a style-conscious mother who refused to be seen in public with children who were not “presentable.”

Short shorts, flip-flops, sweat pants, high heels, kilts, tattoos, piercings, hair right out of a Dr. Seuss story-book… You name it; I saw it walk by. Upon reflection, it was a beautiful thing. Each of those people were deciding what the stops on their trips would be, and what they would look like when they got there.

There were lots of constructive comments after the service, and the next may not look like the last. But what it will definitely look like is what the people that come together to travel thru want it to be. It may have tattoos and flip-flops; it may have sweat pants, high-heels, and funky hair. For sure, it will absolutely look like whatever our Community of Travelers needs for their journey into God and to that place where faith intersects life. And that will be a beautiful thing.

Our service began with a song... listen in

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bishop William Swing at Sacred Cocktails this evening

Come to Sacred Cocktails this evening at 6:30: The Rt Rev William Swing is our guest. Bishop Swing is the President and Founder of the United Religions Initiative. Bishop Swing had the original vision of URI in 1993 in response to an invitation from the United Nations which asked him to host an interfaith service honoring the 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. Bishop Swing served as the Episcopal Bishop of California from 1980 until his retirement in 2006. In that capacity, he was a national and international leader in response to the AIDS crisis, co-founded Episcopal Community Services to address San Francisco’s homeless problem, and co-founded Community Bank of the Bay to support local businesses and the economy.

Sacred Cocktails is part of the Community of Travelers and we meet at the Lookout Bar in the Castro every Monday night at 6:30 PM until 8 PM. The Lookout is at the corner of Market Street and 16th/Noe.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Queen Michelle Jordan performing tonight at "Community of Travelers"

Queen Michelle Jordan performing at "Community of Travelers"
Sunday 5 PM September 12

It is difficult to describe Queen Michelle Jordan with words alone.

Many know her as an extraordinary singer, musician, actress, storyteller and muse. Others know her as a spiritual counselor, teacher, facilitator, emcee and role model.

To those of us that have been touched personally by her strength, beauty and depth of spirit, we know her as Queen Michelle.

Michelle Jordan has performed in theaters around the Bay Area including Theatreworks, A.C.T. and the Lorraine Hansberry Theater for over twenty years. Michelle is a member of the vocal performance ensemble WINGIT! and was a star in the hit musical “Crowns”, produced by Theatreworks.

Michelle Jordan’s theatrical appearances include the Oakland Ensemble Theater Company's production of “Ain't Misbehavin” , the San Francisco production of “Cole”, TheatreWorks productions of “Hi Hat Hattie”, “Go Down Garvey” and “Dreamgirls”, for which she won a Critic's Circle Award for her portrayal of the character Effie.

Here is a sample of her music http://www.queenmichellejordan.com/QMJ%20WWM%20Short.mp3

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Ways of Being Church

What is a fresh expression of church?

A fresh expression is a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church.

It will come into being through principles of listening, service, incarnational mission and making disciples.

It will have the potential to become a mature expression of church shaped by the gospel and the enduring marks of the church and for its cultural context.

It emphasises four things in particular. Fresh expressions are:
  • Missional – serving people outside church;
  • Incarnational – listening to people and entering their culture;
  • Educational – making discipleship a priority;
  • Ecclesial – forming church.

At the heart of fresh expressions is a different way of thinking about church. Many existing churches operate with a 'you come to us' mindset.

Fresh expressions have a 'we'll come to you' mindset instead. They start not with an invitation ('Come to us on our terms'), but with an offer ('We're willing to come to you, serve you and stay with you. If you want, we'll also help you to be church in a way that suits you - in your style, not ours').

The aim is not to provide a stepping stone into existing church, but to form new churches in their own right. The flow is from the congregation to people outside – not inward, but outward.

Fresh expressions is a new mindset, not a new model of church to be copied. It is a mindset that starts not with church, but with people who don't belong to church.

Society has changed and church must change too

Those who think and write about Christianity and our changing culture. They are wrestling with the challenges presented to the Christian faith by 'post-modern' thought and behavior. How can the gospel connect with today's world? What might be the implications for church?
Those exploring new forms of church mainly with people who still go to church (but who are often about to leave). Typically they are into alternative forms of worship and authentic community. Many have a missional heart, but their starting point is to work with Christians who are dissatisfied with existing church.

Society has changed and church must change too. The challenge for all of us is to recognize God at work in each other and champion what God is doing.

Come check out Community of Travelers beginning at 5 PM at St Aidan's on Sept 12 and see what Fresh Expressions of Church is all about!