Summer worship began June 9 at 9:00am in the Memorial Garden with 70 persons gathered for outdoor worship.  Many brought chairs; some borrowed them; and a handful of households opted for blankets.  Two families with toddlers gathered together on the north side of the garden, sharing toys and Cheerios. Older children headed to the parachute with “Mr. Colin” and enjoyed their own age-appropriate time of learning and worship.  Brian Schoettler and a larger-than-last year instrumental ensemble plus vocalist led music.   


Pastor Britt invited the gathered congregation to engage in “sacred curiosity” – or, as one worshipper called it after the service, “compassionate curiosity”.  The focus of worship this month is on cultivating courageous conversations by asking questions of each other and listening deeply to the answers. 


These questions begin with “I’ve been meaning to ask …” and, one June 9, continued with “Where are you from?”  In lieu of a sermon, Pastor Britt invited outdoor worshippers to gather in groups of 2, 3 or 4 to question and respond to each other.  In most cases the groups included folks who did not know each other well or at all.  


“Where are you from?” elicited cities/states and also descriptions of rural communities, family backgrounds, moves that changed life trajectories, decisions about where (and how) to raise families. The question led to asking and answering deeper questions.  How did our backgrounds and experiences affect our sense of identity?  What did we learn in childhood that we hold on to today, and in what ways have we chosen other paths?   


During 10:30am worship, Pastor Britt included a sermon touching on the same leading question and suggested that having courageous conversations are one way we can show up for our church family.  “’I’ve been meaning to ask…’”, she explains, also communicates “‘I’ve been thinking about you and I’ve been wanting to check in… You’ve been on my mind… I haven’t known how to have this conversation, but I’m getting started with a question.’” 


For a number of worshippers in Tittle Chapel, that sermon elicited conversation, with folks asking and talking with each other as they said in their pews, walked along the hallways, and loitered outside on the lawn. 


In worship on June 16 we’ll reflect on “I’ve been meaning to ask … where does it hurt?”   


As Pastor Britt writes:   

 These questions aren’t surface level; they invite us to share our pain and seek ways to care for one another. May this series help us to behold each other as images of the divine. May it help us strengthen our capacity for empathy and compassion. May it remind us of the power of asking unassuming questions. May it show us that courage is rooted in the heart. Through vulnerability and authenticity, may our courageous conversations lead us to glimpse hope, joy, and beauty—and to become the community God created us to be. 


Photo by Sam Stanes