“Secular humanists can sit around and talk about their love of humanity, but it doesn't stack up against a two-millennium-old funeral high mass. ”
~ Edward O. Wilson
Wakes and Weddings
We would like to pray with you about what sort of gathering spaces to provide at the All Hours Church. The decision of where to hold life events such as wakes, weddings, graduation parties, baptisms, anniversary celebrations, and more, always involves financial decisions, which sometimes involve complex religious considersations for one or more families. Designing a facility that accomodates real needs while also serving as a support and extension for local congregations deserves careful consideration on many levels both as to special events and the normal course of worship.
Let's start with the idea of "sanctuary." "High" churches are the most particular about sanctuary function and design. Some "High" Church rules (canon laws) are very specific. For instance, the Orthodox Church is not permitted to hold a service using the same communion table as the Catholic or the Coptic or Protestant. Rules like these raise questions about how to accomodate diverse needs and the extent to which it is necessary to do so in the first place.
In asking the Lord for His will concerning this, we ask for wisdom. If church was strictly a business, we would look at demographics and target the largest groups without concern for other questions. Tallahassee has a "low church" majority.
If the All Hours Church was just a business, we would cater to the Baptist and Methodist majority and exclude the Catholic population by ignoring concern for Catholic canon law and sanctuary use. While Church is often limited by financial considerations its assets and economy are found in a kingdom that is not of this world. So what shall be done? Perhaps the most that can be done, to be realistic is to provide an open invitation.
For design, High churches place tables for eucharistic rites where presiders (priests) bless the bread and wine believing in a spiritual if not physical change of the elements into the body and blood of Christ we remember. Not believing in real change, many in the Reformed tradition find such thinking to be a blasphemous misinterpretation of the words of the Bible. The Episcopal Church stands at a middle place, where not all believe the same way, some not accepting all 39 articles of their faith, including article 28.
The use of a eucharistic table where those in the Reformed tradition generally have a platform for musicians and preachers creates a logisitcal challenge and raises questions such as whether it is possible to offer both a platform and a eucharistic table and whether such a table would be useful, given the ironic division that exists on account of it due to differing beliefs. One solution is to have multiple worship areas - one for preaching and musical performance that contains no table and another, a chapel, that is designed for weddings and, perhaps, funerals, where also eucharistic rites might take place. A baptismal pool is also considered essential for many.
Imagine then that at least for participating Anglicans such a chapel might prove useful and ultimately for the rest, a unique location in which, gradually, each of the high churches, the Orthodox, Catholic, Coptic and High Anglican, might agree to make exceptions to their canons as their bishops approve. By building a simple wedding chapel with a eucharistic table an invitation is sent out to all. Not everyone attends the wedding. Some come inappropriately prepared. Long standing differences regarding sacraments are seemingly impossible to reconcile but one thing we all know and agree on - God can do what we cannot do ourselves. As such, it has been often suggested that we begin a course towards unity and reconciliation with a wedding chapel that includes a communion table for the kairos of the Lord - His time, His way.
Perhaps, we can use as an example of working together to agree despite differences the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and consider for similar reasons why we should, perhaps, make exceptions to rules at the All Hours Churches. Where there can be but one truth, one place of crucifixion, one place of entombment, at the single yet complex structure of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem we find Orthodox, Armenians, Catholic and Ethiopian Christians all worshiping in one place. It can be done. With God nothing is impossible.
The spiritual dimension and challenge must take precedence over financial considerations, which are no less challenging. The size of each room factors in as does the interior design. If we diligently seek the Lord's guidance for design and location, administration and financing, the Lord's grace will prevail. The All Hours Church has inviting lights visible from the street in the night, signifying people inside, perhaps a marquis such as for a movie theater, with its many rooms. Plaza style storefronts are an example but how much space and how many rooms and meeting halls shall there be? A safe environment is desirable and so is a facility with very low cost. The goal is challenging. Wakes and weddings require space and also produce revenues. This vision, in at least part of its complexity is being painted here so that those praying with us can help us consider fiscally sound proposals.
Not the last consideration at all, is the fact that the facility as a whole is to double as a public library that features books and information unobtainable anywhere else. It is not just a common place of worship. It is a common place of study. As such, no matter how much we may disagree, we are called to a single truth and there are no limits as to who may come. No muslim is a Christian but all muslims are welcome. No atheist is a Christian but all atheists are welcome. All those who seek are given a common body of knowledge with which they may discover the truth and they are drawn by such to a people who frequent the same facility, who may bear witness to Christ. Therefore, no matter what our differences may be we are united in this one calling, to learn, to seek, to find - that we may all be one.
Who is running this?
our Director of Education and ministry preparation.
Coordinator of women's outreach and counseling.
serving as web master and master of calendars and advertising.
Fellowship, hospitality, facility booking coordinator - one amazing woman!
will head up the volunteer team that will meet with pastors and follow up seminars.
Jesus Our Lord
is our head and sovereign king. All are welcome to join us in serving Him.