Friday, August 17, 2007

Review of the first meeting

Tuesday went really well. I had nightmares about it all night long. You know the kind - everything that can possibly go wrong did go wrong. In my dream I ran screaming and crying out of the room after about an hour and a half of futile attempts at starting the class. It was awful. And then, I woke up. I've never been so happy to wake up in all my life.

My dear sweet husband, Jack, offered to film each of the classes so I would have a good record of what happened each week. After starting the coffee, setting up the chairs and getting the power point up and running we began right at 6:30. Amazingly only 1 person was late! And, I kinda expected her to be late :).

First, we had a time of worship. We started with a short responsive call to worship, followed that with a responsive reading of Psalm 23. This was the text for worship last Sunday, and worked wonderfully as a beginning text for our class. We sang My Shepherd Will Supply My Need, one phrase at a time, interspersed within the reading of the Psalm. Then, I said a few words about the text, relating it to Bryan's sermon from Sunday - about how God desires to be with us, and how we will begin our time together asking for God to be with us throughout this process.

Then, we had an extended time of prayer, which went so much better than I anticipated. These are tried and true frozen chosen Presbyterians who don't pray out loud. I was a little nervous about how they would react to the prayer I was asking them to participate in. I had a large piece of butcher paper spread out on a table with a bunch of markers. The paper was divided into 4 headings: Praise, Presence, Petition and Thanksgiving. I began each section, offering a sentence prayer (a word of Praise, then a statement about God's abiding presence, next a petition for what I hoped to accomplish in this process, and finally a word of Thanksgiving), and after saying it, I wrote it down on the butcher paper and invited everyone else to do the same. Everyone! Participated! And, without apology or having to be prodded. They just jumped right in with both feet. But what was especially beautiful about this was how the majority of the people wrote their words - in decent and orderly lines :). They were willing to step out of their comfort zones, but remained true to their presbyterian roots. What a delightful surprise.

Finally, we ended our worship time by singing Be Thou My Vision.

After a short break for coffee and donuts, we sat down, I passed out binders that I had prepared for everyone. I was going to add a picture of the binder cover my husband designed, but since it's in PDF form, Blogger won't let me display it as a picture. If I figure out how to do it later, I'll add it in - I'm quite proud of it (Yeah Jack!)

On the top of each of their class note and homework pages I had included an image of the Alpha and Omega that I found in this book: Visuals for Worship by Elizabeth Steele Halstead. This, I explained was to remind us of God's presence and how we must begin and end with God, putting God's will first and not our own.

We had a lively discussion about what worship means to each of us, what participation means, and what participation in worship means. Then, I gave them about 8 min. to recall a corporate worship service that had a strong impact on them, reflect on what that impact was, and then draw a conclusion about worship based upon that reflection. We had only time to discuss 3 or 4 of them, and then I had to close out the class, describing their homework for the week, and let them go.

Before they did, I had them sign up to provide breakfast for one of the remaining 5 weeks. I explained that it did not need to be fancy - just prepared with the knowledge in mind that by bringing food, they are taking part in nourishing this team and that nourishment will help to draw this team of people in closer communion with each other.

We closed in prayer, and that was it. I was quite pleased with the level of engagement of each person in the group - 14 people total. So, now I'm in the library all day today and tomorrow to prepare for this coming Tuesday - Biblical and Theological Foundations for Worship.

Speaking of which.... back to work for me :)


Blogger Elaine said...

Sounds fabulous.

I started to say that I wish I'd been there -- but then I remembered what TIME it was. Sheesh. Talk about dedication.

By the way, speaking of cool worship, were you there Friday morning last week for the Jesus prayer bit.


11:35 AM  
Blogger Amy Stewart said...

I was there Friday morning, but for the life of me can't remember the Jesus prayer bit. I know there were things during the whole summit that I thought would be good stuff for me to adapt for this team. Help me out... what was it?

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Amy,
It's Tracy! How fun to read about your class. Wish I was there to cheer you on. Sounds like the HS is at work at WPC!

I found you thru RevGalBlogPals; was just clicking on random links and saw you!


9:35 PM  
Blogger Amy Stewart said...

Hi Tracy - thank you for cheering me on from a distance. That's the cool thing about this internet stuff - we're not really all that far.

Now about that HS - I'm begging for some HS inspiration tonight as I prepare for Tuesday's class. I hope the others are as difficult as this one. can't wait to say I'm done with it. :)

11:35 PM  

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