Join us for a session of "Beer & Hymns" as we celebrate Thanksgiving for our monthly Common Meal & Eucharist Gathering! We are thinking of exploring the theme of gratitude, God's grace, and thankfulness (hence the "We-are-thankful" summary) mostly through hymns, but also art, meditation, and conversation!
For this Thanksgiving we wanted to do something a little different, so singing some of the great hymns of thanksgiving and grace over a pint (and meditatively) seemed like a good idea (we will have juices and seltzer too if you don't want a drink). Over the past year, we've explored many kinds of hymns and songs, both new and old, rediscovered and rewritten, Celtic and African-American Spiritual, Iona and Taize. This will give us a chance to bring it all together in one night.
In addition to the actual singing, we are going to practice some meditation to get things started so we can explore how hymn singing is an under-appreciated form of spiritual practice. (In many churches a rock band or the pipe organ are the dominant form of musical praise while actual congregational singing has fallen by the wayside as culturally backward. Nothing wrong with powerful musical instruments of course, but it means we've lost our own voice spiritually, unless you're in a choir of course.) We will bring our previous discussions of the neurobiology of meditation to bear as we explore how singing can change our brain wiring. In other words, hymn singing can be just as powerful and mind-blowing as meditation, contemplative prayer, and lectio divina when properly understood and practiced (and a pint doesn't hurt the process! ;O).
This Thanksgiving, do something different and rediscover the awesome spiritual power of singing!
Hope you can join us!
Glenn, Jen, Larry, Janet, and Steve
About our new Monthly Common Meal and Eucharist Gathering: Our monthly Common Meal and Eucharist Gathering is a part of our attempt to put emerging ideas into practice as a Christian community, not just talk about interesting ideas at an abstract level with no practical component or real-life significance (as many have complained about).
Previous Monthly Gatherings: At our first three monthly Common Meal and Eucharist Gatherings we looked at some basic concepts in Christian theology through art, scripture, and experience. We have been using famed spiritual writer Henri Nouwen's method of dividing up the Bible into basic themes that highlight a different aspect of the faith experience. In one of his books, he summarizes the Bible in three themes: 1) God-for-us (Moses and the Exodus); 2) God-with-us (Jesus and the Gospels), and 3) God-Within-us (Pentecost and the Holy Spirit). We have continued this way of looking at theological themes.
Save the Date: We'll be having a Christmas coffeehouse with Xmas Carols & author Enuma Okoro on Saturday, Dec 7th.
Schedule: For those who want to participate in the common meal, we'll start that at 7PM. For those who just want to come to the gathering, we'll start the singing at 7:30PM. If you are late, you can still pick up some dinner in the back of the room and a pint, and join us in the discussion. We are very casual about that sort of thing. You can feel free to slip out early if you have another event during the night too.
Participation: People are always free to just come and enjoy the spontaneous conversation and singing, but it you want to contribute a hymn title, just put it in your RSVP line. If you have any suggestions about poems, prayers from the Book of Common Prayer and other prayer books, scriptures, paintings, stories, songs, etc. let me know.
Music: If you would like to lead one or two of the songs with or without music, let me know.
Food and Donations: One person will bring some breaded Turkey cutlets & cranberry sauce, but if you can bring a salad or holiday-themed side dish (sweet potato dishes, mashed potatoes, etc), that would be most appreciated. If you want to bring a bottle of wine, interesting juices, seltzer, or a few bottles of your favorite beer, that's another option. If you can't bring something, consider helping with the expense of the evening (food, copies, etc.). We'll have a cup near the food to help us cover our basic expenses.
Location: Going forward, we're hoping to have our gathering in the "community/fireplace room" space of the Church of the Pilgrims. We've started to partner with Church of the Pilgrims in a number of ways, we help with their homeless ministry (Open Table) and they provide space for our gatherings for example.
Directions from Metro: Church of the Pilgrims is about 2 blocks west of the Q Street Exit (that's the north one) of the Dupont Circle Metro Station. Once you hit 22nd street, go south a block to the sanctuary entrance at P St and 22nd.
About Parking: Church of the Pilgrims has a parking lot entrance on 22nd Street twenty feet away from the corner of Q St. and 22nd St (where the big "Church of the Pilgrims" sign sits). The parking lot is surrounded by bushes so it's not always easy the entrance at first. There's about 20 parking spots. You can usually find parking in front of the church building.