Trinity Church

Wenatchee, Washington

To pilgrimage together through the Christian Year as spiritual formation in order to more deeply experience Christ, the church, spiritual practices, and the community. 

Provide a brief summary of the purpose and goal of your grant. 

To help people unfamiliar with the church calendar not only become accustomed to its terminology, theology, and practices, but to enjoy it as a congregation and have it inform our worship and daily discipleship. We are newly Anglican, and so this "Pilgrimage through the Church Year" has helped us understand this ancient teaching tool through art, music, food, lectures, and ritual. 

What questions have you asked about worship in the past year? 

We wondered about what does the church calendar (suspiciously seen in terms of Colossians 2) have to do with personal and corporate discipleship?  

We began to discover that the church calendar offered years (centuries!) of theological reflection, compressed sometimes into a day - or short season. We also found that the church calendar offered us different ways to navigate our humanity, as it is based around the humanity of Christ. 

We also wondered how to take discipleship out of our heads and into our lived daily lives. 

We found that some of the "traditions" were ways not to slip into routine, but to be kept from the routine. The church calendar offered embodied ways to connect with Jesus, and with years of cultural reflection. 

In what ways has your project engaged your congregation so that it impacts the worship life and habits of the congregation? 

We have listened to lectures to engage our minds, participated in book groups to engage fellowship and community, we have offered new styles of music to help us connect to different traditions and centuries, art to visually guide us, liturgical reflections mid-service to explain various practices, an understanding of the major church feasts (and participation in them when covid allowed!) 

What criteria have you used to evaluate your plan to foster vital worship? 

Covid setbacks notwithstanding (lecturers by zoom instead of in person, feasts cancelled at Omicron's height), the church has grown by leaps and bounds in their understanding of the calendar and incorporation of it into their lives. 

We have conducted a survey of "before and after": 

QUOTES FROM BEFORE: "I follow the secular calendar" - "Lint is new to me" - "bare basics" 

AFTER: "inspiring" - "I'm going to re-read the book again, with new people" - "encouraging to see how the early church celebrated with fasting, feasting, and praying together" - "Now, I am able to move more intentionally throughout the church year, knowing how to engage and inhabit each season" - "church calendar invites me into discipleship in Christ, in community." 

What issues have been your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)? 

The greatest challenge has been to bring together a team of artists who were going to help me (Julie) select the artists who would be commissioned by the church. We were all big brainstormers, but this was hard - especially when 2/3rds into the process, they wanted the challenge of creating a banner themselves for the church (under the direction of a banner artist). I'm realizing that "team art" takes a gifted organizer who has a unifying vision for the team and the work, not a blank slate for 100 ideas.  

The other challenge was that we had contacted Ukrainian iconographers at the beginning of the year (long prior to the war), who then have continued to be commissioned by us - but with no clear idea as to when the art will arrive. Grace. 

What would you like to share with other Project Directors? 

Work on a team, but have a strong idea as to deadlines and vision. Being open to all ideas isn't always a good idea! But you need the support of a team who will get excited with you, frustrated with you, etc!