November 2023: 30
Service theme: Grace anniversary; Luke 24:13-35 Road to Emmaus
The format was 'Communion By Numbers'. People sit in groups around tables. On each table are 8 envelopes, one for each section of the service. At the ring of a bell, people open an envelope (in numerical order) and do what's inside. The eucharistic prayer is said by the presiding priest, in this case Dean and Anna together, but there is bread and wine on each table.
6 tables of 6 people
Banqueting roll on the tables
Everyone who is doing an envelope needs to do 6 of everything (at least)
On screen - Grace history slideshow (Steve)
Café lights up pillars
Cake on a table in the centre with prosecco and glasses. The cake, commissioned by Lynda, was called 'Heaven Exists', made by Nastassja at The Indulgent Sugar Plum. It was an apple cake (referencing Adam and Eve!) covered with dark and white chocolate, with edible 'angel feathers' and integrated lighting.
Everyone bring prosecco.
10 cheese bags from Cheddar Deli (Mike and Jonny)
Crackers and fruit (Sue)
Order of service:
(Mike) (before the envelopes)
Envelope 1: A Grace for Grace
Grace is the short prayer that is often used before eating. The word comes from a Latin phrase ‘gratiarum actio’ or an act of thanks. This evening as we mark 30 years of Grace we begin with an act of thanksgiving – some people have known Grace for many years, for others this may be their first time attending but we give thanks together.
Take some time to share around the table the things you are thankful for in Grace and/or your own life.
Write or draw your thanksgivings on the bunting flags in the envelope – remember you can use both the front and the back of the flags and there are some spares. Hang the bunting from the lines provided.
Say the grace together around the table – there are several copies in the envelope.
A grace for Grace
(say the grace together round the table)
This evening we give thanks for:
Generous grace provided in times when we are tired and empty
Risks that take us to places of unanticipated meetings and joy
Awe at the beauty of art and nature bringing delight and inspiration
Community gathering in Ealing for the past 30 years – for everyone who has played a part large or small, brief or long, absent or present.
Engagement with all the communities in which we participate hoping for a better world
We pray that we will meet you and each other in this service, in our worship and our companionship, through the love of Jesus who loved to eat and talk with those he met along his journey.
Envelope 2: Confession
We confess. We’ve messed up, sinned and not been the people You would wish us to be. We’ve failed, we’ve done the wrong thing and sometimes didn’t act when we should have.
We need forgiveness.
From You, from each other
Have a minute to think about what you’ve done or not done that needs the forgiveness.
For the wars on the planet that we don’t have the will to stop
Lord have mercy
For the suffering of others that we are too tired to do anything about
Christ have mercy
For the mess we have made of Your planet
Lord have mercy
Take some time to think about something that you will do that will right a wrong you committed last week.
When you’re ready, take the oil and ask someone at your table for forgiveness. Ask that person to make cross on your forehead with the oil. Offer to do the same for them.
Envelope 3: The Word
Road to Emmaus, Luke 24: 13-35 (Peter)
The Emmaus Story
The top picture portrays events on the first Easter day. Word is spreading rapidly that Jesus is risen from the dead. Several women go to his tomb that morning, find it empty and are told by angels that he has risen. Later that day, two disciples are walking from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus just outside when they meet a stranger and tell him about these events. But the stranger’s response surprises them and they invite him to join them for supper.
You can see the loaf of bread in the picture. When the stranger takes the bread and blesses it, they experience deja vu! In his last meal with them before his death, jesus also took and blessed bread. They recognise that the stranger is no stranger but Jesus himself!
Something ordinary like bread helps them see things in a different light.
You can read the full story in Luke 24 13-35.
The bottom picture is a contemporary version of this. These people are surprised about something, perhaps what the woman has said, but we know not what. Art books are around, one on women artists, and sums look significant. But again, something makes them start to see things in a different light.
1. What do you notice in the pictures that may help to see things in a different light? 2. What everyday things, maybe like food, art of books as in the picture, or things from Grace, have helped you see things in a different light, perhaps spiritually?
Draw or write something to represent your ‘thing’, either from Grace or from everyday life.
Create a ‘table’ on your table, a small space in which to put your creation.
Place it on the ‘table’. Where do you put it? Somewhere obvious right at the centre, or in a corner, or right on the edge calling for your attention before it falls off?
Have a look later and see what others put, and see if you might share their experience.
Envelope 4: Credo
In the envelope is a Grace manifesto from 2011.
It was a service called ‘Another World Is Possible’ in the wake of the Occupy movement.
Write one or two statements for a Grace scratch credo.
Each table will be invited to read their statement.
Those of you on Whatsapp can do the same and we will read your contributions too.
A creed is a statement of belief about God.
A manifesto is looser - more about who we are and the actions we commit to.
A credo is a combination of the two so go with whichever you like.
If you need a prompt point begin with
We believe: God created everything and is creating everything.
We are: infinitely creative, without everyone’s contribution we lose out.
We believe that God gifts everyone with creativity
We are people who play with our faith and our culture
We can meet God when we use our creative gifts
We believe that the Earth belongs to God
We are nurturers
We believe that the Earth, our home, is a gift from God that we should cherish and look after.
We believe that we should seek and nurture glimmers of hope and God in a battered and sometimes dark world.
We believe that social justice is central to Jesus’ teaching and we are called to support each other.
We are called to be open, inclusive and welcoming.
We believe doubt is OK.
We believe that time spent together is never wasted
that there are different ways to live
we are called to support each other’s talents
We come as we are - and however that is is OK.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
We believe that every individual is invited to sit and eat at God’s table.
When we look at other people we want to see the grace of God in them.
We believe that God can help us to live together as a loving family despite our differences.
We believe as a spiritual community God wants us to be servants of others, but first to be masters of ourselves.
We believe that you have the freedom and safe space to explore your connection with God.
It is the baseline: common human decency. We are all equal.
Envelope 5: Prayer
candles - thanks, intercessions (Jonny and Lynda)
Person 1: Thanks
Invite people to share round the table what they are thankful for from Grace. Light a candle or two and gather up those prayers of thanks.
Person 2: Peace
There is so much hatred and violence in our world. We pray for peace, for shalom. Invite people round the table to name situations in the world - Gaza, Ukraine for example. Light a candle or two and pray on behalf of the table.
Person 3: Grace
Invite people to share any personal items for prayer and anything they would like to pray for for Grace looking forwards.. Light a candle or two and hold a moment of silence together.
Envelope 6: Communion
(Dean and Anna)
Every table had bread and wine. Dean and Anna led from their tables, everyone broke bread and wine around their own table.
Envelope 7: Peace/toasts
Getting Prosecco open and poured (Adam)
Lynda to explain and cut cake while toasts happen
People offered toasts to:
- St Mary’s for being our hosts for so long.
- To Dave Holme who died this year
- To Mike Starkey and Mike Rose who started Grace
- To Adam
- To Greenbelt for giving us a stage to do big things
- To Jonny
- For everyone not previously mentioned
- To those following at home
- To the chefs and the eaters
- For the labyrinth builders
- To hospitality (and the amazing ways in which Grace has always embodied it)
- To the women of Grace, in particular, who welcomed me when I moved to Ealing 17 years ago!
- To curators and ideas people
- To the archivist
- To a gracious community that is not bounded by borders or oceans
- To those who have not let distance separate them from Grace
- To God’s creativity and all the ways it shows up in God’s creatures!
- To creative expression of timeless truths
Envelope 8: Blessing
Introduce reworked ethos and doors liturgy (Steve)
Doors liturgy - ethos 30 version
The format of the ‘Doors liturgy’ comes from the Late Late Service in the 90s, we’ve played with it a few times. We did a Doors liturgy (ethos version) based on the Grace ethos in 2006.
And now we have a new Grace ethos. The new ethos is based on the 2005 version, the 2011 ‘Another World Is Possible’ creed, and the congregational input from last month’s service. It doesn’t leave the past behind, but the emphasis has changed, unsurprisingly, towards community.
So we also have a new Doors liturgy (ethos 30 version) (also here).
Say it all together.
We will nurture a community of love and acceptance.
We will offer hospitality to all kinds of people.
We will enter the kingdom through the door marked ‘Community’.
We not allow our gifts and talents to be hidden.
We will use them boldly and take risks.
We will enter the kingdom through the door marked ‘Creativity’.
We will encourage all to contribute, in mutual respect and trust.
We will offer our contributions as a gift to God.
We will enter the kingdom through the door marked ‘Participation’.
We will engage with the world and join the activity of God wherever we sense it.
We will love the planet and use its resources wisely.
We will enter the kingdom through the door marked ‘Engagement’.
We will go through these doors in the power of the Spirit, knowing that Jesus has gone through all of them first.
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