"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Sunday, July 27, 2003 I'm in Minneapolis for the ESMHE conference (Episcopal Campus Ministries), but I ditched out of our morning Eucharist today and walked a couple miles to a place called Spirit Garage (www.spiritgarage.org) . It's a non-denominational church sponsored by an ELCA (Lutheran) church.
It was fabulous! It's housed in a neighborhood theatre ... the seats are all up on risers and form a semicircle around the stage, which is where the altar and the band are set up. The music was phenomenal. THey have one main (paid) music leader (a really great bass player) and the rest of the musicians are people from the congregation -- a really eclectic group that includes not just guitar and drums but a cello and even an accordion for one song.
The music was amazing ... but the whole spirit of the place was amazing. It was about 70-80 people, mostly in their 20s and 30s but some older, and some small children.
What it was most of all was authentic to the people who were there. It was a church in an arts neighborhood and that's what it felt like ... it was worship and community that was generated from this community of people. It wasn't something that tried to take a community and turn it into something else. And the beauty of it was it's complete simplicity. I think there are ways that we have replicated the spirit of it to some extent with ECM ... but it also gave me a taste of how much deeper we can go.
I also think it's something that would be a great model for a ministry on a place like the Loop.
I'm going back next week ... and I hope to take other people with me. We need to start looking at these models ...and not just looking at them but trying them out. Not just because there are so many people out there who wouldn't be caught dead in our churches who would really groove on Christian community like this ... but because this community (and others like it) are so amazingly joyful--and I think our church is in big need of an injection of that!
Convention starts tomorrow in terms of the official pre-convention meetings. I am excited and full of hope. God is here. ... and tomorrow Steph will be here too, so that'll be a lot of fun!
On another note, my father is going in for a minor heart procedure tomorrow (Monday) morning -- it's the same procedure (angiogram with possible angioplasty) that Joe's dad had, and my dad has had one before. It's very routine, but please keep him and my mom (Tom and Jackie) in your prayers.
EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.
Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.
"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."