On a cold April 1 Easter Sunday morning, we gathered in silence before sunrise, near a charcoal fire. Karla told the post resurrection story of Jesus and the disciples sharing breakfast on the beach, from John 21: 4 - 13, we sang, and then huddled around the fire. We decided to go the traditional early breakfast of fish and bread and went on to a potluck brunch at Faith House, and a celebration in song.
Despite predictions of morning thunderstorms, we were able to have our Easter sunrise service. We gathered in silence before dawn, heard John 2: 4-14, sang together, and then had smelt (also known as "little fishies") cooked over a charcoal fire, bread, and hot drinks. Afterwards we gathered for an Easter hymn sing and brunch at Faith House.
We had our 3rd annual retreat at Camp Friedenswald on February 25 and 26. It fell during Goshen College's spring break, so we only had one college student present, making for a smaller group than in previous years. We still sang, played, ate, and enjoyed Sunday morning worship in the Nature Center. There was even a dusting of snow, an unusual event this winter. Below is a slideshow with a few scenes from our time together.
We are in the midst of a congregational conversation about open communion, using the MC Canada resource Come, Lord Jesus, Be our Host, by Elsie Rempel. Here is the link. This takes you to a 60-some page pdf, but don't worry -- the suggested reading for any of our times is always short, from 2 - 10 pages.
We worked with her Session 1 at our March discernment meeting and during the weeks from just before Easter through Pentecost, we are drawing on her Session 2 for biblical stories where Jesus breaks bread with people. We'll be picking up her other Sessions at upcoming discernment meetings.
Resource Mapped to Worship Schedule.
Our interaction with this resource is not happening in a tidy linear fashion since the work with the biblical stories is spread over seven weeks and the discernment meetings are mixed in among them. To see a chronological presentation of what is happening when, go to our Worship Schedule. Suggested readings are in the Notes column.
Our Schedule Mapped to a Summary of the Resource
To see an overview of Rempel's Sessions, look here. Under each Session's title, you'll find a few lines summarizing what is covered in that Session. In the second paragraph (in italics), you'll find a sentence beginning "Background for. . ." This connects the Session material with the themes, questions and factors that we named at our last discernment meeting. This italicized section also tells you when and in what setting we are working with this material.
We gathered silently before dawn again this Easter Sunday, enjoying the birdsong and the clear sky, coping with the March temperatures and the blare of the train whistle from the nearby track. As the sun came up, Erin read John 21: 1 - 14 and we sang Lord of the Dance. And then she said, "Come and have breakfast."
Most of us went on to Faith House, where others joined us for more singing of Easter songs and readings, followed by brunch and more opportunities to visit and laugh together.
In a recent post on the MC USA website, Rachel Gerber, denominational minister to youth and young adults, sends a message to small congregations, with words of appreciation for her own small fellowship. Rachel is part of Bloomington Mennonite Fellowship, where Erin was before moving back to Goshen. Here's the link:
To small congregations: you are enough.
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