July 11, 2011

Outdoor Church

When the weather's nice, do you move worship outside?

Sunday morning in Marblehead: Slept late, breakfasted on oatmeal raisin bread purchased at the Farmers’ Market, then headed to the Fort at the mouth of the harbor to watch the boats ready for the start of the Halifax Race. No church for us today.

En route, encountered people in 18[1] century clothing walking towards town.  Not entirely unexpected as the weekend’s events included an encampment by Glover’s Regiment at the Fort complete with period tents, equipment, and food as well as reenactments of local skirmishes with the Red Coats. 

The encampment also included Sunday morning worship. As we entered the Fort, I noticed the minister of the local Congregational Church, decked in 18[2] century garb, delivering his sermon and urging listeners to “embrace the seeds of liberty being sown…”. A good sized crowd had gathered, comprised of both reenacters and community members, a number of whom may have not planned to attend a worship service that day and found themselves drawn, as we were, to the beauty of the Word. 

Sitting high above the harbor a few minutes later, I was reminded of how I often feel closest to God while outside. The power of the sunrise service on Easter, the quiet beauty of worshipping at Cathedral in the Pines as the wind rustles through the trees, or sitting quietly at the shore, as the water laps up against the rocks. 

Does your congregation move worship outside when the weather is nice? And if so, where do you worship? How do you handle logistics such as seating, music, and transporting the altar? One of our local congregations holds their 8:00 am service at the lighthouse at the mouth of the harbor, with worshippers bringing lawn chairs for seating, the singing a capella or accompanied by recorded music. 

I invite you to share your outdoor worship experiences – as well as any resources you may have – in the Your Turn section of this site.

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