We would love to hear updates from those of you who have been studying abroad, or doing service in other locations this summer. Where were you and what are one or two things that stand out for you as you reflect on that time?
Here's a photo of the poster we've been putting sticky notes on this past six weeks or so.The previous post gives the background details. This was our initial attempt to explore forming another worship circle.
On the left is our tentative time line. During August we will continue to see if we have 5-7 people interested in doing some initial planning and shaping of a bud/pilot group. We also want to know who is interested in being part of the on-going anchor group.
Below are some of the responses to the questions ("What is your call, nudge, Holy Spirit invitation? What are you drawn to for OT Sunday a.m. worship? What are you drawn to for exploring possibilities with a new bud?") As you'll see, people responded at several different levels -- some with foundational elements that draw them, some with very specific elements that they are willing to help with. Some specified openness to being part of a new group or a continuing group, others didn't specify. Asterisks mean a new sticky note; when the same thing is said by a couple people I put the numbers in parentheses at the end. We have encouraged people to feel free to put up more than one note, as ideas get triggered.
*Contemplative worship - reflection/meditation + silence (2x)
*Building God's kingdom wherever
*Helping family think of options besides soup; sending out soup reminders
*Involved in growing community (simple setting and community); growing as a safe space
*Integrating 1 or more families into the setting (old or new) (2x)
*Integrating all ages in worship time
*Music; advertising OT to incoming first years
*Drawn to-- a place to become more known to myself and others; a place for silent reflection; a place that welcomes everyone; a place that names and encourages use of gifts; allowing space for the Holy; paying attention, holding things lightly
*Willing to be doula for two groups during transition time
*Energy, music and leadership skills for supporting network of OTMF-like church bodies
*Active participation in worship/meal, discernment, small group; energy limited but open to being part of new bud
*Energy for testing model of sending out rhizome; open to new or continuing; contributing hospitality, making soup, worship leading
*willing to continue to help out; could see being part of a bud
What would you add with your own sticky notes (or notes)?
As the “Growth” paragraph of our Who We Are statement says:
The face-to-face nature of our worship circle allows all to be known by name. We want to create a safe place for questions and honest mutual engagement, where we can discern together what the good news of Jesus means in our context. We also want to welcome newcomers. We are exploring ways of budding new worship circles to welcome growth while also maintaining a small inter-generational worship experience.
From the beginning, Open Table has talked about organic growth models, wanting to welcome newcomers through adding inter-generational worship circles rather than through building bigger. As you remember, our worship circle this past year was pushing the limits of our space at Faith House. Even with many of us away for some or all of the summer, we have usually had about 20 people at Open Table.
So we are exploring the possibility of having an on-going Open Table group at Faith House as an anchor group, continuing much like it has, and spinning off a smaller new group (a bud, a rhizome, a pilot group). We keep experimenting with language, but the idea is that we see if there are 5-7 people who feel a call and some energy for starting something new. They would do the initial planning and organizing and then invite others (from OT and elsewhere) to join them.
We also want to know who continues to feel a call and energy for the on-going Open Table patterns of worship, meal and welcoming new people. Neither group would be starting from scratch. We assume that worship at the new group will be similar to what Open Table has developed. And our overall structures – finances, policies, staffing – would be an umbrella for both groups. The new group would decide when and where to meet (Faith House would be available Sunday evenings, another location could provide accessibility for those with mobility issues, etc.), and if there is any additional focus that draws them together. Together we’ll be figuring out what it means to be an anchor group and a new bud.
Like the public square at the center of old European towns, this forum is a place to continue discussions begun during worship or in a small group gathering. It is intended for participants of Open Table. If you're a potential visitor with questions, please email us.