Tag Archives: Community

I am called… to lead worship

As a priest I will be leading the communal worship of my community most of the time. It is a double calling to be worshipper and leader of worship in order to transform all. Not only would I lead a service though, I would be responsible for setting the tone of the worship of the community for which I need to be a liturgist at the technical level as well pay attention to the life of the world in my community so that the worship can express the intensity of God’s interaction with the world.  Actually, I am a little overwhelmed by this. I don’t know very much about liturgy at all. I guess I will learn this at college…

I would tend to the worship of others as well as my own. In leading worship, my prayers will be an important source of information for others. I will have to walk the thin line of providing both the comfort of the familiar and the challenge of being out of one’s liturgical comfort zone which might well lead me out of my own comfort zone. It would be my responsibility to understand and apply the theology behind the liturgy used and to enable the understanding of others through it.This will be especially difficult since many people will just be sitting there, letting the words wash over tzhem without really listening to what is being said. As long as my expectations aren’t too high I should be fine!

Worship is a gift from God and I am called to share this gift with a specific community in a specific place at a specific point in time. This means that in order to make the community’s worship relevant, I will need to pay attention to the community I will serve, to the culture, newsworthy events and personal happenings. In my worship with this community I will have the chance to express the intensity of God’s interaction with the world. This will require me actually relating to my congregation. Oh bother! Me, the one with the odd music tastes, reading books that nobody else likes and being addicted to American TV Dramas! I will have to step things up a little… or possibly use my excentricities to good effect!

I have had some experience in leading worship, in a home group setting, reading in church, writing intercessions and praying with my Sunday school children. I found it both exhilarating and difficult. Leading worship means that there is a chance that I am the only one truly taking part in the worship. This can be both emotionally and spiritually exhausting. Isn’t there an easier way to meet people than sitting through a service being bored for more than an hour each Sunday? Porbably I am being very harsh. On the other hand, when there were others truly worshiping alongside me, leading them in prayer is meaningful and important. I have always felt that praying with others brings an additional level of immediacy to prayer and while I wouldn’t miss my personal praying time alone, prayer with others is also very important to me. Leading others in prayer regularly and having the chance to be a vessel of inspiration through God’s word is something I am very much looking forward to. And the children are the best!

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Filed under CoE, Community, My calling, Prayer

Church of England

When I decided to join the Church of England and, by default, leave the Catholic Church, people asked me why I bothered. After all, I could have been happily Catholic while being a member of my CoE parish. I didn’t agree. It was not an easy decision, in fact it took me around a year to make it. To start with, I felt (and still do) a strong bond to my home parish in Germany, where I still go to church when I am visiting my family. This parish helped me grow up in faith and community, they where my anchor during some very difficult times and I will never forget that. But I had also grown up with the understanding that the Catholic Church did not represent my views in a lot of areas and in fact opposed them in quite a few (I’ll probably be talking more about that in the future). In my parish and my family it was always understood that what the bishops and the pope were doing had very little to do with our faith. When I had lived for quite a while in England and had experienced the very conservative forms of Catholicism here, had been disappointed a few times when trying to join local Catholic parishes because they were not very welcoming, I decided to branch out and the CoE seemed the obvious choice. I found the parish I am a member of now quite quickly and they were just perfect for me. Eventually, when the Catholic Church was more and more removed from who I feel I am and where I am in my faith, I decided that I wanted to be a full member of my parish, because for me it does make a difference. And really, the Catholic Church hadn’t really done much to make me be proud to be Catholic. I still felt like I was giving up a huge part of me and it took long conversations with friends and family members as well as my Catholic minister from home who had seen me grow up for me to feel comfortable with the decision. From a structural point of view I love the democratic elements in the CoE and the worth they put on the laity. I have found a place where I feel comfortable to make spiritual connections and worship as part of the community.

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Filed under Catholic Church, CoE, Community