Praying for Summer

Praise you God, because from you all blessings flow

And some kind of summer beckons.

Different from the endless summer of last year, where we were all so lonely we could spit.

Different from the fall where promises of vaccines were hazy and masks were packed into book bags with lunches

and we held our breath.

Now after giving up all of my free time to digitally school my eldest, and truck my other two back and forth to school.

Now after a year of basically nothing but school (and thank God eventually church), no clubs, no friends, no activities.

After a winter of depression

And a spring of exhaustion

And a Post-Pandemic, which, maybe, sort a, might be starting,

but sure as anything hasn’t really become a reality yet….

–For India and Brazil, Lord hear our prayers–

A year of mostly rewardless schooling has ended, and we are finally able to send our students and teachers back with our thanks.

And Now…

Summer beckons, and God I hope you guide us through.

I hope you help us to wind our way through this time of huge transition

Because we have not yet begun to feel the aftershocks of all that is different in our lives.

And I keep hearing hints

Of mourning those we have lost and adjusting to what life is now

Of mass retirements, and considered quittings,

Of reprioritizations and reorganization.

And so, I’m praying that I can string together some pieces of summer

with ice cream

and sunshine

and water fights.

Just enough pieces of summer, to feed my soul.

Until I figure how the hell we are going to do the next good thing.

Give us summer we pray.

Amen.

Please feel free to adapt/share/use with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Gathering & Gospelling! The Worship Series based on The Art of Gathering and Unbinding the Gospel

Gathering and Gospelling

6 Week Worship Series

If you want doc versions, sample bulletins, and the handouts as a separate materials page, email me at Katyandtheword at Gmail

The time is ripe to invite people into your community. We miss gathering, and we need to remind one another why we do this church thing, and share its importance with one another. Thus this worship series is developed around two works.

Parker, Priya. The Art of Gathering: How we Meet and Why it Matters, Riverhead Books, 2018, New York, New York.

https://www.betterworldbooks.com/search/results?q=The%20Art%20of%20Gathering

TedTalk: https://www.ted.com/talks/priya_parker_3_steps_to_turn_everyday_get_togethers_into_transformative_gatherings

Reese, Martha Grace. Unbinding the Gospel: Real Life Evangelism, 2nd Edition, Chalice Press, 2008, St. Louis, Missouri.

https://www.betterworldbooks.com/search/results?q=Unbinding%20the%20Gospel

Each Worship is based upon a chapter, or two from The Art of Gathering. Some exercises and Prayers are from Unbinding the Gospel. After each chapter title is a Worship Title theme for that day.

You do not need to have read these books to do the series, but If you can read at least one it will help you in your writing and development of ideas. It is also a great companion study to read these books in conjunction with or before or after this worship series.

Proposed Order of Worship

Start with Scripture

Confession: Reflective Questions (silent meditation or music playing)

Call to Worship

Hymn

Optional: Confession of Faith: Apostle Creed or some other Confession

Children

Scripture Again

Creative Activity

Sermon

Prayer: Joys & Concerns

Hymn 

Homework

Prayer of Dedication

Blessing

An article that might be helpful for your leadership to read
https://freshexpressionsus.org/2021/05/20/what-if-they-dont-come-back-4-opportunities-for-churches-post-pandemic/

Notes about the Order of Worship: Worship is ordered without announcements, because of the “Don’t Start a Funeral with Logistics” (TAG p.175) If you must do announcements I suggest printing them out, emailing them after or putting them somewhere around Homework. Note the scripture is read 2x, Confession is done meditatively with some reflective questions for your notebook or to think about. Creative Activity is before the Sermon, and write the sermon to be about 5-7 minutes, or consider skipping the sermon/reflection if your context will allow since time will have been spent DOING the sermon as an activity.

Also decide on your context for the blessing. Perhaps you want people to bless each other or perhaps there is a formal benediction. Feel free to use the Study Verse as the blessing

If you need another hymn or a space for an anthem, feel free. Our practice is to shorten worship in the summer, and we have been having only two hymns (without singing) for Pandemic Worship.

Sample Introductory Letter

Worship 1: Chapter 1 Decide Why You are Really Gathering: Practicing Communion 

Worship 2: Chapter 2 & 4 Close Doors & Create a Temporary Alternative World: Make Holy Spaces

Worship 3: Chapter 3 Don’t be a Chill Host: Active Welcoming& The Invisible Church

Worship 4: Chapter 5 Never Start a Funeral with Logistics: Commitment: Here I am, I am Here 

Worship 5: Chapter 6 Keep Your Best Self Out of My Gathering: Confession & Authenticity & Baptism

Worship 6: Chapter 7: Create Good Controversy: Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly 

Prepare: Figure Out how you will give people their reflective questions  

Have Paper and Pen Ready for each person each session; perhaps give each person a small notebook (and offer to store them), and devise how you will send the Homework and Study Verses home 

If you want doc versions, sample bulletins, and the handouts as a separate materials page, email me at Katyandtheword at Gmail

If you use this material, please consider donating to my GoFundMe for my Doctorate in Ministry for Creative Writing as a working Theologian. Any Contribution from $5-100 is appreciated and I am happy to provide receipts as needed.  

((This series has been developed solely by me Pastor Katy Stenta at Katyandtheword so sadly all errors are my own.))