Old Rites, Young Bodies  

Posted by Joe Rawls

Many people of my generation--rapidly graying boomers--think that the best way to lure young folks into mainline churches is to offer them "contemporary" styles of worship: folk masses, gospel music, even a U2charist if they feel really ambitious. After all, it works for the megachurches, right? I have a sneaking suspicion that many of these boomers are merely projecting their own wishes onto these liturgical evangelism projects.

The local newspaper in Lawrence, Kansas, home of the University of Kansas, has an article (http://www.2.ljworld.com/news/2009/aug/29/mass-appeal-old-style-service-drawing-young-crowd/)[the link won't work for me for whatever reason] on a "Solemn High Mass" celebrated each Sunday night during the school year at Trinity Episcopal Church. The service seems to be a good old-fashioned bells and smells feast, with incense, holy water, and Gregorian chant--the Nicene Creed and Lord's Prayer are chanted along with much else. The congregation is multi-generational with a good representation of KU students--some voice majors even sing in the choir. One student attendee had this to say:

"...it uses all your senses--it just sort of inundates you with things. This thing encourages you to smell and to taste, to touch and see and to hear and just sort of be flooded with..the presence of God and the presence of everything we care about."

Now, if only my Trinity Episcopal Church would do something like this!

Hat-tip to Titus Onenine.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at Wednesday, September 16, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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