Interesting to see this in the local paper ...
The church's existing building, a sanctuary/art gallery/coffee shop on Taft in Montrose, holds five crowded weekend services and has been a place for the community, especially artists and the homeless, to gather outside of worship.
"It places itself in the midst of homelessness, and it's very important for the new building, too. When they were looking for a new building, that was a priority," said Laura Pettibon, 23, who has attended Ecclesia for a year and half. "It has such a focus on 'the least of these.' "
Church leaders hope to carry over the same themes of art and hospitality while incorporating a culinary element to the new location. They want to include a pay-what-you-can restaurant, where homeless people can eat for next to nothing and diners who aren't in need can spend a few bucks extra.
A new waiting period begins as Ecclesia starts planning for how the new space will be renovated.
The first call for volunteers to start working on the buildout happened to fall on the weekend I'm out of town. Not that I'd be particularly handy with sheet rock or plumbing or whatnot. The sidebar to the story mentions that there are three services on Christmas eve. As luck would have it, I'm working the "V" side of the AV booth for all of those services. Fortunately, I do know my way around ProPresenter a bit better.
Leave one church that's known for making news and join another that .... well, just watch and see for yourself.
Another rushed week has sped by, but the two things I feel worth hitting the brakes for to give passing mention here are both musical in nature:
- Tuesday is the release of Lincoln Brewster's new material. If your as obsessive about this as I am, you should know there's a pre-order option that gives you the immediate satisfaction of three songs before the full release. I've been spinning the three new tunes and it seems like this release is definitely aimed at getting Lincoln into a few new niches. There's still some Irish-influenced guitar noodling, which is a nice throwback to Lincoln's earlier days, but it's probably going to have some stuff that gives a few old-timers' reason to think that Linc is now playing for the CCLI crowd. I could care less, but I'm a fairly recent convert to Linc. Good is good and this one is definitely sounding pretty good to my ears.
- Yesterday, Ecclesia was blessed to have a one-night stand-in band. Matthew & Lizi were the duo and their music is widely distributed. I'd suggest starting with the latest EP since it includes a couple of tunes worshiped to last night. "Love Moves" got things going and set a nice tone. If you can't get into Lizi's voice, we probably shouldn't ever talk about music ... because there's clearly something wrong with you if that's the case.
As far as the personal AV routine goes with Ecclesia, I ended up being a late sub for running media and it definitely felt a notch or two more comfortable this time. Still, running lyrics for a band I wasn't familiar with kept me on my toes. And if that wasn't enough, there were some pretty hairy segues between the band, in-house prayer, and Chris Seay giving the sermon from Argentina. I won't give away details - if I did, I'd be here boring you all day. But I'll chalk up the night to a solid B or B+, with a little harshness on the grading dialed back. I definitely feel a lot more at ease with everything, but the immersion method is now over for me. It'll be about a month before I have to tax my memory on this stuff again.
Last point to sorta stamp in time is that the work sched has managed to bleed dry any productive time I might spend with my guitar. I think it's been about a month since I've taken it out for a walk with. The good news: I'm developing a nice backlog of ideas for things I'd like to try once the free time returns. The bad news: I'll probably forget most of them. I guess, as a way of balancing things out, I've occasionally flipped through the recorder and have actually been impressed with the quantity of things that are on there that I've yet to polish off, combine with some other not-terribly-bad idea, or spend some more time mastering it to sound as good as it should. I've got a feeling that my neighbors are really going to hate having me as a neighbor after I dive back into the practice habit in November. Just putting that warning out there for them now.
What with me being who I am, I guess it was only a matter of time before I connected with the AV squad at the new church. After two "watch & learn" sessions, some deep breathing exercises to get my anti-Apple nerves settled over the prospect of using a Mac, and a healthy dose of self-confidence that I've effectively "done this" a number of times ... last Saturday was my first time at the helm of the Ecclesia media machine.
As far as self-grading goes, I give it a harshly-graded C+. There's a notable difference in running media for a smaller ministry that doesn't lean too heavily on media and going into a church where media is a bit more central and the pastor has totally different nonverbal cues that I'm supposed to pick up on. The critical damage for my part was really kinda meager: one song transition that confused me and I jumped the gun on video before the sermon. I should probably go easier on myself, but I know what a perfect night is like in the AV cage and Day One wasn't that. The part about transitioning from Window's Powerpoint to Mac's ProPresenter? ... not all that bad. The hard part was just dealing with nervousness about messing up the whole thing, which I'm proud to report that I did not do.
Still, it probably didn't help much that I caught this during a recent Woodland Hills sermon:
Truly, this is the sort of thing that wakes me up in a cold sweat during the middle of the night.
I'm reminded that one of the things I enjoyed about Lakewood Saturday nights was it's relative rawness compared to Sundays. Now it dawns on me that I'm probably part of the relative rawness that accompanies Ecclesia Saturday nights. Never let it be said that God doesn't have a wonderful sense of humor.
On the brighter side, the entire experience did make me a great deal more aware of what it means to worship with your work. I probably got that at some level during my prior Saturday night routine. But those nights were usually a LOT more relaxed compared to the new routine. Still, last Saturday was a great experience all around. Chris' sermon is well worth a second listen and a lot more deeper reflection.
With apologies to the Bay City Rollers, we finally kicked off Saturday night services at Ecclesia last night. There's still a little bit of leg room to go around, which is encouraging to see. Then again, I managed to watch from the lofty perch of the AV team section, doing my darndest to get comfortable with ProPresenter (good program, really ... I just consider Mac products to be of the devil). The message was covering another part of the book of James and came at a time when Ecclesia celebrated it's 11th birthday as a church.
26-27 Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
1-4 My dear friends, don't let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, "Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!" and either ignore the street person or say, "Better sit here in the back row," haven't you segregated God's children and proved that you are judges who can't be trusted?
5-7 Listen, dear friends. Isn't it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world's down-and-out as the kingdom's first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn't it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind? Aren't they the ones who scorn the new name—"Christian"—used in your baptisms?
The translation generally used at Ecclesia is Chris Seay's The Voice, but since it's not yet included as a BibleGateway translation, I'll use Eugene Peterson's The Message. Either way, I think it's safe to say that each and every week has been a pleasant reminder of what a great place Ecclesia is to grow in.
Lastly, I should probably go ahead and note my regrets over the slowness of blogging in days/weeks past and set the expectation that things might be about as slow between now and Election Day in November. Yep, the day job is now even more of a 24/7 calling. High School football ... college football ... the NFL ... catching up on reading ... catching up on missed sermon podcasts ... breaking out the guitar to annoy the neighbors with ... all things that have been gradually fading from the list of things I get to enjoy. Look for a little make-up time with some of these after the votes have been counted.
But since I'm here now, why not share a few good reads from the past few days ...
Houston Chronicle: Texans GM Smith gets help from above
The New Yorker: Inside C Street, Washington’s frat house for Jesus
OnFaith: Obama, Beck: Who is Christian? Who decides?
Christian Post: Clark Pinnock Dies at 73
WESH (Orlando): Granddaughter Of Mega-Church Pastor Succumbs To Cancer
The last article references the grand-daughter of one of my faves: Joel Hunter.