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“Will God indeed dwell on the earth?” —1 Kgs. 8:27

Friday, May 22

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1001 Worshiping Communities

Minute for Mission

 

A worshiping community in a remote corner of southwestern Virginia is living into the psalmist’s plea to all God’s creatures: “Sing to the Lord a new song . . . all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless God’s name” (Ps. 96:1–2).

Built 100 years ago, this mission church never had more than 50 members. Several times it closed. Eventually someone who loved it would gather new disciples to worship and serve the community of Floyd County.

In 2012 Edwin Lacy was serving as a pastor in nearby Bristol when he heard the news that the presbytery was considering selling the mountain church building. Its doors might finally be closing for good.

But the musician-turned-pastor had an idea. What if he could create a worshiping community with bluegrass music that focused on expressions of Appalachian culture—as an outreach to the community—and the nonchurched.

“Three hundred people live in this one-stoplight town,” says Lacy. “Yet it draws more than 1,000 people for an Appalachian music and art festival on Friday nights."

Lacy’s plan met with some resistance at first. Six months later, Abingdon Presbytery called—asking him to provide leadership for the old church.

He went to work, taking out the pulpit and replacing pews with rocking chairs. He even built a fireplace and came up with a new name.

Wild Goose Christian Community began two years ago. Now nearly 50 people—some Presbyterian, some new disciples—gather by the fire in rocking chairs, singing bluegrass music, with banjos and fiddles. Communion is served in Mason jars and shared around a circle.

Worshipers, even those who didn’t grow up in church, refer to it as their “thin place.” “Celtic music speaks of places where the distance—the veil between heaven and earth—is very thin,” says Lacy. “Folks doing church in their own culture, in this pretty place, realize how special God—and this worshiping space—are.”

Paul Seebeck, PC(USA) mission communications strategist

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Jean Hemphill, BOP
Lorraine Henry, BOP

Let us pray

God, how grateful we are for the creative presence of your Spirit. For all of the “thin places” that speak of your salvation, we give you thanks. Continue to breathe life into all of us—send us into our neighborhoods and communities in service, so that world you love might bless your name. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 96; 148
First Reading Ezekiel 34:17-31
Second Reading Hebrews 8:1-13
Gospel Reading Luke 10:38-42
Evening Psalms 49; 138

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