Tuesday, October 12, 2010

early edition

yup, catching up again. here's a notice i posted to the whole crossing community on oct. 5. titled "early edition" but i guess that's just true for anybody reading it here. still, helps you to know what we're up to, dreaming of, planning for.

This is a special, early edition of my usual community e-blast. It's early because there was some news too urgent to send later. Here's what you'll see below, in roughly chronological order:

-- Small groups locations and times, starting Tuesday ... and my humble testimony
-- Anti-Bullying Vigil on Tuesday @ 7pm
-- Potluck Community Dinner this Thursday after worship, and other community happenings
-- Anybody got an extra PC computer or wanna help with worship set-up?
-- About giving @ The Crossing
-- Some gorgeous Mary Oliver poems for St. Francis' Day (which is today!)

getting synched in a small group
This week small groups are kicking off all over our community. Please look and see which one you'll link with this fall.

Why the small groups hype? Isn't it enough to just come on a Thursday evening, worship and even stay for formation and play afterward? Have we bought into pop church-growth models? Um, no. If worship is the focused space where we encounter and grow in love with God, then small groups are the focused space where we encounter and nurture God's life in each other. Especially given the transient nature of our community, we need small groups that facilitate the deeper drop into shared life and mutual transformation into Jesus-like people (it's alright if you need to pause and meditate on that for a second ...).

Being in a group takes more time and a bigger commitment. No doubt. You may find committing to a small group of fellow travelers means you have to say "no" to something else. No pretending that's not the case. All I know is what I gain from the small group I've been part of, every week, for the last five+ years. It's just four people, but they are my church, my intentional Christian community. For an hour and a half, we share home-cooked breakfast, prayer, life check-ins, bible study, sync the scripture with our lives and the world and pray again. Wicked simple.

And yet, in this small circle, I experience a direct zing with God. I don't know how I would live Christian life without these people walking with me and knowing me so deeply, laughing at my screw-ups, calling me back to my path. When I see them in other spaces, I know it's gonna be alright. I'm more open and gentle and loving to more people, because of this small community. They see and love God in me. I see and love God in them.

That's my testimony. If you want to share a story, feel free to send it to me and we'll pass 'em around. The point is, we're in this together. And having a small circle of folks to journey with and commit to, even for a few months at a time, makes a frickin' huge difference.

Enough said. Here are the UPDATED group details -- held @ The Cathedral, unless otherwise noted:
  • Praying Our Lives: Every other Tuesday @ 6-7:30pm. Focus on prayer and practice and integrating Christian commitment into whole of life. Year-long (break for Christmas). Closed after first two sessions. CONTACT Jana at jana.yeaton@gmail.com or Adwoa at adwoalw1@gmail.com.
  • Faith and Sexuality: Sundays @ 6-7:30pm. Space for everybody to explore the intersection of gender, sexuality, our bodies and our faith. Oct. 10-Dec. 13. Closed after first two sessions. CONTACT Andres at andres.castro.samayoa@gmail.com or Penny at penny@pennylarson.net.
  • Faith Transitions: Sundays @ 6-7:30pm (NEW TIME!!). Space to deal with big shifts in the way we understand God, Jesus, church, theology and more. Oct. 10-Dec. 13. Open group. CONTACT Rudy at rpreyes2@gmail.com or Rev. Steph atrevsteph@thecrossingboston.org.
  • Brookline/Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Group: DATE and TIME TBA (group choice). Join with neighbors to pray, eat, learn, serve and chill. CONTACT Leigh atlsfoster83@gmail.com. Held @ Leigh's house in Brookline.
  • Cambridge/Somerville Neighborhood Group: Sundays @ 6-8pm OR Wednesdays @ 7-9pm (group choice). Ditto: pray, eat, learn, serve, chill. CONTACT Beth at elizabethLgraham@gmail.com. Held @ Beth's house in Porter Square.

justice and action
THIS Tuesday @ 7pm / Anti-LGBT Bullying Vigil at Boston's State House
Nine young people killed themselves in the last three-weeks because of anti-LGBT bullying. Please pray for the victims and please stand up for compassion and justice. We'll join Join the Impact and folks across the country in a vigil for victims of anti-LGBT bullying. Meet on the Cathedral steps at 6:45pm and then head across to the State House. CONTACT Vicki atmortev@diomassintern.org or 508.333.6458 (to meet up that day).

after worship on thursdays
THIS Thursday / Community Dinner
Every first Thursday, we share a good, old-fashioned church potluck! Bring a dish, drink or dessert AND bring a friend. Done by 9pm @ the latest. Got questions or want to help with set-up/clean-up? CONTACT our resident chef, Stephen Gire at stephengire@mac.com.

NEXT Thursday / Everyone Does Theology
Second Thursdays, we settle in to learn and kick around deep thoughts on the big religious questions Christians have wrestled with for millennia. Offers some background on the traditions and then opens up for all of our wisdom and wonderings. 'Cuz here, everyone does theology. CONTACT Keith at nelsonkr@gmail.com.

Thursday, Oct. 21 / Episco-Disco
Third Thursdays, we turn off the brain and turn on the music. All are welcome to eat and drink at Fajitas n Ritas and then head to Estate, a nearby dance club that's free if you arrive at 10pm. 21 & up. CONTACT Travis at travisastevens@gmail.com.

Thursday, Oct. 28 / Education for Action
Fourth Thursdays, our Justice & Action Team organizes an open gathering where we share our stories, grow our passion for justice and prepare for action in the world. CONTACT Vicki atmortev@diomassintern.org.

Sunday, Oct. 17 @ 1-3pm / Welcome to The Crossing Brunch @ Rev. Steph's house in Cambridge
There's a lot happening in this small but vibrant community, so we host these periodic brunches to help new(ish) people get their bearings. Eat a really yummy Southern brunch and learn about the dreams, commitments and practices that shape the core of our life at The Crossing, plus some history, some intro to our leadership and some info about the traditions (Anglican + emergent + more) that ground us. And, of course, share some about yourself and hear from other new folks! RSVP by Fri., Oct. 15 and CONTACT Jason at jason.long.1@googlemail.com.

behind the scenes
Got a spare computer?
One of our two office computers died last week. But wait ... surely, in a city this smart and tech-savvy, someone's got a decent laptop or desktop PC they'd like to donate to church. Look around your room or office. Then CONTACT Rev. Steph at revsteph@thecrossingboston.org.

Worship help
Worship at The Crossing is a community effort. We'd sure appreciate your help:
  • Set-up/Clean-up: If you'd like to offer your artistic gifts (or just like moving furniture around), please come at 4:45pm any Thursday and dive in. Homemade art welcome! Or, if you can be part of a team that does clean-up periodically, that's a one-way ticket to heaven. CONTACT Isaac at isaac@thecrossingboston.org.
  • Advertising: If you've got talent at graphic design and want to help with flyers + advertising, CONTACT Rev. Steph at revsteph@thecrossingboston.org.
  • Worship sheets: If you have an hour a week to help draft and print worship sheets, CONTACT Isaac at isaac@thecrossingboston.org.

giving @ the crossing
We gather in a big, rich-feeling Cathedral, and we're located at the seat of the Diocese of Massachusetts. But when it comes to finances, we're actually a tiny operation doing God's work on the cheap: about $100K funds EVERYTHING we do (salaries, programs, admin, music team, outreach). Simple fact is, giving from our community makes The Crossing possible. It's also a spiritual practice that can change your life. To learn about regular giving, CONTACT Lura at lsteele120@gmail.com OR grab a pledge card during worship.

TODAY is st. francis' day
For me, St. Francis of Assisi is the person who most clearly embodies living into "the fullness of Christ". He was human and flawed and quite likely a bit mentally unbalanced. He lived a relatively short life -- born 1182, died 1226. But he was so wildly in love with Jesus that he followed him without reserve, and he gathered communities of men and women to do the same. The Franciscans still radiate the spirit of simplicity, sacrifice, joy, humor, compassion, community, solidarity with the least of these (including animals and creation, but also the poor and sick and oppressed), and renewal of the church of Jesus. If I weren't with you at The Crossing, I'd probably be a Franciscan sister right now.

Feel free to read more about Francis here. And ask me about my cross on Thursday. I got it in Francis' hometown this summer. Praise God.

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real simple

playing catch up again -- here's a post sent to the whole crossing community back on sept. 28. just to let you know what's in the air ...

This one's so simple ...

Our Community Life crew has been listening closely to The Crossing community. What we've heard: folks want to fall in love with God and learn to intentionally journey with each other, connecting in our neighborhoods and connecting around the unique, big questions we're carrying through life. In response, the Community circle has crafted fall small groups that respond to the deepest yearnings in our community. Now, here's where you come in:
  1. Click the link for the Small Groups @ The Crossing survey. 10 multiple-choice questions. 3 minutes. Go for it.
  2. Bring your calendar to worship on Thursday and sign up to check out the group you're feeling tugged toward.
  3. Be ready to share, walk, eat, pray and love (couldn't resist) as a community this fall. Groups start as early as next week.

And even as we come together as a community, please pray for the blessed rest of the four people shot and killed in Mattapan early Tuesday morning, including two-year-old Amani Florony, and for the many people who are grieving and suffering tonight in the wake of this unspeakable tragedy. Whatever community we nurture in our small circle, it is only so we can bear that much more love and reconciliation into our city and our world. And oh, how this city and this world need that love right now.

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