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Vital Congregations, 1001 New Worshiping Communities to hold Holy Week Zoom calls

On Wednesday, VC will discuss ‘Spirit-inspired worship’; 1001 to gather for Maundy Thursday prayer and meditation

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

Jeff Eddings and Ayana Teter will facilitate a 1001 New Worshiping Communities videoconference focusing on prayer and meditation and including a study of Maundy Thursday Scriptures at noon Eastern Time Thursday. (Photo by Paul Seebeck)

LOUISVILLE — At 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday the Office of Vital Congregations will continue its weekly Zoom calls on the Seven Marks of Vital Congregations with a discussion on “Spirit-inspired worship.”

Led by the Rev. Dr. David Gambrell, the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s associate for worship in the Office of Theology and Worship, the conversation will begin with a scripture reading from Ezekiel 37:1-14.

“It’s where God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the breath, and the Spirit comes to give life to dry bones,” he said.

Gambrell said he can’t think of a more perfect passage to describe what “Spirit-inspired worship” means. Noting that the Hebrew word for “breath” used in the Ezekiel passage is “ruach,” which can also mean “Spirit” or “wind,” he said, “This is a vision of how God’s Spirit can transform our worship and bring new life to the church.”

Gambrell said he also chose this passage because historically, the Church has used it as part of its Easter vigil — and because it describes a time of exile.

The Rev. Dr. David Gambrell speaks during the 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium. (Photo by Rich Copley)

“As we enter into Holy Week and Easter, this is a fitting thing to reflect on God breathing life into dry bones,” he said, “while we’re scattered out of our sanctuaries trying to figure out what it means to be vital congregations in a new way.”

Gambrell will be joined on Wednesday by Vital Congregations Coordinator the Rev. Dr. Kathryn Threadgill, VC associate the Rev. Carlton Johnson and mission specialist Monique Rhodes.

Threadgill she can think of no better mark to focus on during Holy Week and leading to Easter resurrection than “Spirit-inspired worship.”

“We’re grateful to have David with us and for this chance to embody together this important mark in such a time as this,” she said.

On Thursday at noon Eastern Time, 1001 New Worshiping Communities will continue with its weekly Zoom calls by offering a time of prayer, centering and meditation led by the Revs. Jeff Eddings and Ayana Teter.

According to Eddings, the coaching associate for 1001 New Worshiping Communities, the time will include Maundy Thursday Scriptures and reflections. By recognizing where the church is in Holy Week and taking time to settle into that spiritual space together, he said, new worshiping community and church leaders can connect with God and with one another.

“Even though we’re physically distant from each other, we’re experiencing a worldwide trauma together,” Eddings said. “It’s important to make sure we’re connecting with each other in our spirits.”

Teter, director of vocation and placement at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, said her hope is that those attending Thursday’s webinar will feel supported and encouraged during this time of pandemic.

Referencing Ephesians 4:1-6, which addresses unity in the body of Christ, Teter said she is passionate about building up church leaders — especially those trying to communicate the gospel in new ways during this new time of trauma.

“Jesus is gathering us together as disciples from a vantage point we haven’t wanted or been privileged to experience,” she said. “We have an opportunity to meet and connect with Jesus in a new way.”

To join Vital Congregations’ Seven Marks conversation, click here at 3 p.m. Eastern Time every Wednesday through May 6.

 To join in the 1001 New Worshiping Communities Zoom conversation, click here at noon Eastern Time on Thursday, April 9.

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