What’s Stirring at St. Martin’s in Fairlee…
For several years, we have been exploring ways to incorporate families with young children into the worship life of St. Martin’s. We have had some success with the following three events:
(1) On the first Sunday of each month, at 9:15 a.m. (the regular parish Eucharist is at 10 a.m.), we invite families with young children (and any other parishioners who want to participate) to an Informal Communion Service in the nave of the church building. We set up a small table in front of the communion rail and then have simple songs, readings, storytelling (on one of Bishop Ely’s visitation Sundays, he was the Good Shepherd who went looking for a lost sheep who was played by one of the children), prayers, peace, and communion. The liturgy is modeled on Rite Two, and the songs we use regularly are in a printed form, both designed to be simpler and more accessible to children.
(2) About once each quarter of the year, we have a Breakfast Communion event for the whole parish. We have a potluck breakfast at 9:15 a.m. in the Gathering Room. Then at 10 a.m., we have the first half of the Eucharist while still seated at the breakfast tables. We use some of the songs and stories that have been featured at the Informal Communion Services. After the Prayers, we all process into the sanctuary space together, singing a simple processional song. Then we have communion as usual. See some photos here.
(3) Occasionally, at the 10 a.m. Eucharist, we have an intergenerational worship event, in which the first half of the liturgy is similar to the Informal Communion Services. The accompanying photo is of the most recent event in which we acted out part of the Exodus story.
These events have been transformative at St. Martin’s because they have given veteran parishioners a vision of what the future church can be and have given young parents and children a place at the table…figuratively and literally!
For more information about these three events, contact John Morris, Rector of St. Martin’s (firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-439-6599).
Stirrings of the Spirit is a three-year strategy
for the Episcopal Church in Vermont
to discern where the Spirit is calling us
through exploring new understandings and expressions
of what it means to follow Jesus in a rapidly changing world.