Last night was one of my favorite kind of nights at The Practice. Over the past four weeks we’ve had the privilege to hear Stories of Resurrection from some incredible guests, testifying to the power of Christ’s Resurrection in Race, Religion and Iraq, but last night we got to bring the conversation closer to home, sharing stories of resurrection with one another within our very own community from our community.
I was talking with some friends after The Practice last night and we all agreed on one thing, these nights of sharing and listening with one another are always a little anxiety inducing – and sometimes it feels like it would be easier to sit them out, but every single time I participate in them, I have a deep and profound time of connection with real people in our community who are the hands and feet of Christ to me. I’m always so grateful to have been a part of it and at the end of each of these nights I always find myself saying – that was my favorite.
We began our night with a shorter opening liturgy, reading scripture together, a time of confession and assurance and a passing of the peace. Before our time of practice began, the wonderful Kellye Fabian got up to share with us all her heart and vision for this listening night.
One of the things I love most about Kellye is her thirst to know Why? Why are we doing this? I think that most people have found themselves asking the very same question about these listening opportunities and have craved a deeper and more compelling answer for why we do this and why others should take part. (You can listen to Kellye’s invitation here below or through the Practice Podcast.)
After Kellye invited us into the why, Lori Shouts got up to explain to us the how. Each time we have practiced listening and sharing of any kind at The Practice, we make it a point to follow the following important listening guidelines –
These listening guidelines provide a safe container in which we are able to tend to Christ’s presence among one another without the pressure of fixing, advising or evaluating one another. After reviewing these guidelines we spent time journalling through the 3 questions that have shaped and guided our entire journey of Resurrection,
In what ways have you seen resurrection take place in your life and in the world?
In what ways are you longing to see more resurrection take place in your life and in the world?
In what ways could God be inviting you to join in his work of resurrection in your life and in the world?
After getting our thoughts down on paper, we broke into groups of 3 to begin our 3 way listening process. The format looked like this:
- Each group of 3 chose who would share first
- Then we held one minute of silence to prepare our hearts for sharing and listening
- One member then shared their answers to those questions uninterrupted for 5 minutes whilst the other two people simply listened (no talking/interrupting/question asking)
- When the five minutes were up, we held one more minute of silence to reflect on what we’d shared/heard
- Then each group had 2 minutes in which the two listeners were able to either affirm the person who had shared or ask a question that had come to mind for them as they were listening.
After this process was complete, we repeated it for each person until everyone had had a chance to listen and share. Once we were all finished we turned our chairs back to the center of the room and Kellye invited us all to share how the experience went for us, here is just some of the feedback we heard.
“The format of this allowed me to share things, deep important things, I don’t think I ever would have shared in church otherwise. I’m thankful for this opportunity.”
“It felt so good to be listened to.”
“There was a common theme in our group between everyone who shared, and I don’t think that was a coincidence.”
“At first, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to share or listen for 5 whole minutes, but after trying this I wish we had even more time. The things we were able to share and explore with one another were so engaging.”
“I was feeling anxious, because I came by myself and ended up in a group with two people I’d never met before. But after having listened to and shared with one another, it felt so good to listen to their stories and have my story shared. I feel like I have just gained two new friends.”
After this time of debriefing, we came back to the center of it all, the table, for Eucharist. John led us in our time of communion and after taking the bread and the cup we ended our time of worship with the doxology, praising God for all he has done for us.
We closed with a few important announcements that we will continue to share deeper and more exciting information about over the next two weeks, but in the meantime, keep the following thoughts in mind:
- We are NOT meeting next week, May 8, 2016
- Our next series Living the Liturgy will begin on May 15, 2016 – and we cannot wait to dive into the historic liturgical practices of the church and how they spill into the rest of your week with you all! An update is coming soon, but in the meantime – check out the dates on our calendar to stay in the loop!
- Curtis Miller has been working hard to provide an opportunity for more parents to attend The Practice by exploring ways to care for children during the gathering. During our Living the Liturgy series, we are excited to share that we will be experimenting with “Practice Kids” for kids up to 5th grade. More information coming soon!
Thank you all, as always, for being on the journey with us, it is a gift to share with you and to hear your stories of resurrection.
Jenna & The Practice Team