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Meet and right

October 27, 2011

Christ Church, Sharon

Christ Church in Sharon, Connecticut, is a 200-year-old country parish serving a small town in the foothills of the Berkshires. It is, moreover, a model of what a small church can offer.

How do we know? From many years of association—and from the following text, taken from the church’s website and written by its vicar, the Revd Jon Widing. Very simply, he describes the core mission of every church and how it may be carried out with dedication on even the most modest scale. One needs no incense, or trumpets, or jubilation streamers to come into the presence of God, and so no church needs elaborate liturgics or programming gimmicks to invite the seeker into that same presence. If the Christian life is one of turning away from self, toward God, then worship is the action of our careful stepping out of the way on a Sunday morning. Our pageantry and over-eager welcome too often obscure this call, and so Widing’s text must put us in mind of what true worship really is.

Our primary work is worship. In our gatherings, we welcome newcomers as we seek a connection with God and other people with various life experiences. We want to be understood, to understand, and to belong to a community finding truth in the presence of mystery. With no illusions of our own merits we lay open our needs, seek forgiveness, grace, and assurance of hope.

Each Sunday we gather at 8 AM (Rite I) and 10 AM (Rite II) to hear that the ground beneath our feet is solid, that there is something of permanence amid all the chatter and hype of the work-a-day world.

In worship we want to be moved, to explore the mystery, to feel companioned. We want to participate in something eternal that draws us beyond our ourselves, however fleeting, into something of permanence, beyond time and space.

We are a close knit, deep-hearted, parish church, valued highly and made holy by many years of prayer and by God’s abiding presence.

Amen.

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