Monday, July 31, 2006

Surveying the Territory

Perhaps it is premature and I will have to repeat this request periodically as interest in the blog grows (fingers-crossed), but I want to go ahead and start getting some 'feelers' out for Nazarene churches that are making gestures toward worshipping in a more liturgical/sacramental manner. While instances of churches doing a full-on liturgy or a weekly "word and table" service (i.e. preaching and communion) are precisely what I'm looking for, I'm also thinking of things like more frequent communion (every other week, say), or increased observance of the Christian calendar, or following the lectionary cycles for preaching/teaching.

This inquiry, which will be ongoing, of course, and may require a little research and asking-around on all of our parts, has a two-fold (at least) purpose: 1) curiosity, a simple desire to know, as it would no doubt lift our spirits and give us pause to pray for the efforts of such pastors and congregations; and 2) I would like to at some point create an additional section in the sidebar with links to various Nazarene churches that are moving in directions with/in their worship that are consonant with the perspective of this blog - sort of a liturgical "honor roll" for those brave churches. (Then again, why should it take bravery? These things are simply and irreducibly Christian, are they not...?)

Post 'leads' in the comments section, or email me.


kevin said...

Here are three that I know of.

Kansas City First Church had a weekly 8 am Word and Table service a few years ago led by Roger Hahn of NTS. The service was pretty much Rite 2 (if I remember correctly) from the BCP. I don't know if they are still holding this service, as I've been away from KC for about 5 years now.

Overland Park, also in the KC area, was also fairly liturgical service, with 3 scripture readings, observance of the Christian calendar, use of the lectionary, and communion at least once a month (not weekly, but better than once a quarter). However, the senior pastor that was there when I was there (Mike Jackson) has moved to Jacksonville, FL. I'm guessing, however, that the current pastor, Phil Hamner, has kept up sometime like this practice.

In the SD area, Mid-City CoN has a regular liturgy: all three readings from the lectionary, a creed, public confession of sin, weekly eucharist. It is a testimony to John Wright, the senior pastor there, that the worship is structured in this way, despite the fact that the vast majority of the congregation are either PLNU students, recent graduates, or homeless from the neighborhood.

Brannon Hancock said...

Thanks for this, Kevin. I knew about KC 1st but not the others.

Thanks to google, I also came across this funky 'emergent' type service that is a sub-set of Oklahoma City 1st. Although I remain unconvinced of the value (or at least the necessity) of the emergent banner, "Kaleo" looks to be doing some pretty cool stuff. Plus, let's make no bones: their website is off the hook.

Also, I know Longsight Church of the Nazarene in Manchester, UK, does a weekly word and table service. They normally use the Anglican prayer book I think, but I know that on Pentecost they did a Coptic rite that was beyond cool (my wife was at the service and saved me the liturgy booklet). As one might expect, Longsight is near Nazarene Theological College, and is pastored by Dierdre Brower-Latz and a team of other ministers affiliated w/ the college.

Okay, that's five for the honor roll...keep 'em coming.

Question: should I spell it 'honor' or 'honour'? I am in the UK after all, and have grown accustomed to their 'proper' (so they say) spellings...

One more thing: we're going to need some femininity on this dudes start telling some chicks to pop by, and I'll start harassing my wife to post something.

Dean Blevins said...

There are or have been other word and table services. I believe Howard Plummer has a W/T service at Hermitage CON in Hermitage CON but not sure how liturgical. K. Steve McCormick conducted W/T services both at Wollaston Church at ENC and also MVNC. Finally there is Epworth Chapel on the Green in Boise ID with Nazarene Connections (formerly Epworth in the Foothills)

I think these examples give other "vestiges" of Worship renewal.

Brannon Hancock said...

Yea! for Dean Blevins making an appearance! (Welcome! Don't be a stranger!)

And yea! for more Word and Table services! Color me encouraged.

Come to think (and I wonder what others think) - this is bound to be the prospect - "vestige" as Prof. Blevins says - for the COTN now or in the future, is it not? I mean, we could never turn away from our strong preaching tradition, nor should we. Trust me - I know what the 12 minute pappy pick-me-up sermons are like in (most) Anglican churches, and it (often) ain't pretty. Now, I'm not a fan of overly didactic, polemical preaching either - an error too far in the other direction - but surely the homily is about teaching, expounding upon the Scriptures...pedagogy! Nazarenes know this and do it well.

Yet, along the lines of several things I've been reading of late, we have to learn to see Word & Sacrament not as two different things, or even two parts of the same thing (e.g. the liturgy) but as interdependent, or as modalities of the same thing. That is, Sacrament as precisely testimony to and embodiment of the Word, celebration of the Word-made-Flesh; and the Word as precisely and irreducibly Sacramental.

In other words, we must come to see the whole service, and not simply the sermon, as the space of pedagogy. (I will be posting on this sometime in the not-too-distant future...unless somebody beats me to it.)

Brannon Hancock said...

[later, after perusing the website]

WOW does Epworth Chapel look to be a fascinating place, and with an interesting story. Thanks again for pointing that one out, Dean.

I remember hearing about Plummer's service at Hermitage - I'll have to check into the status of that one.

I learned about what McCormick was doing at MVNU from my cousin Ben Radcliffe, who attended the W&T service fairly regularly for a time, and from his (now) father-in-law, MVNU philosophy prof Lincoln Stevens, who may still be involved in a W&T service there...again, I'll have to ask for some updates.

Keep 'em coming. I would love to compile a list to this end, if even just to satisfy my own curiosity.

Also, my comment on an earlier post is relevant here.

Steven D. Sorrell said...

Since Hermitage was the last Nazarene Church attended I can say that though comunion was served every Sunday at the 8am service, it was not a Word and Table service, or liturgical at all. The blessing or consecration of the elements was non-existant, often times Plummer did not even recite "This is my body... this is y blood... do this in remembrance of me..." It was very watered down. Sometimes I wondered what we were even doing.

I do not know the Church names but I know two Naz Pastors Steve Johnson and Johan Treadoux have liturgical leanings with lectionary preaching and often communion.

Also I hate to keep bringing up Orthodoxy, but concerning Brannon's comment on not dividing the Word and Table. In the Orthodox Church it is simply "The Divine Liturgy" and the two aspects of Scripture and Eucharist can not be divided, in fact a person should not and sometimes is not allowed to come forward for communion if they were not present for the Epistle, Gospel Reading, and the Homily.