Friday, September 16, 2022
This week, we will hold our first Sunday worship service in the Warehouse 839 space since March 2020. We’ll gather at 5pm this Sunday, September 18.
As we prepare for this time together, I’m noticing how many feelings are arising for me.
I’m also a bit sad.
What we had in Warehouse 839 before it was cut short was something special.
There is a part of me that is still grieving the loss of what that space meant to so many of us.
One of the more subtle impacts of COVID was that we didn’t have a chance to mark the endings of things.
One day, they were simply gone.
We assumed that they wouldn’t be gone for long. We had no way of knowing what the future would bring.
The mission of Warehouse 839 when it was first dreamed up was to create a multi-purpose space where folks could be introduced or reintroduced to the extravagant love of Jesus, folks who might not regularly step into the walls of a Sanctuary building but might come to a space in a warehouse that didn’t seem so formal.
The Warehouse’s first season was a big success.
They built an amazing contemporary band – which was exactly what people were looking for in that season.
People experienced the love of Jesus through the music, through the welcoming environment, and through the constant assurance that they belonged.
When COVID moved worship online, it made sense to set up our operations in one place instead of two. During the pandemic, leadership in our band moved on for a number of reasons. Many of us have felt that loss.
While the services in the Sanctuary continue to grow, we have sensed that God was leading us back to our Warehouse 839 space… perhaps with some new questions.
What is needed in this next season?
How will we continue to fulfill the original mission of Warehouse 839 and reach folks beyond our walls who might not come to a service in the Sanctuary?
What will meet people in this new “post-COVID” world with the extravagant love of Jesus?
Should the services take place on Sunday mornings or at another time?
The truth is, we don’t know the answers to these questions.
But we know the best way to explore where God is leading us… is to do so together.
This Sunday, and once a month for the rest of this year, we will gather and experiment.
We thought it made some sense for these first few services to bring in someone who doesn’t already have preconceived notions about what worship should or could look like in the space. We’ve invited Sheena Phillips, a very gifted musician, composer, and director, to help lead us through these first few times of worship.
One thing is certain… whatever comes next will be something we build slowly.
What we are doing with these experimental services is twofold.
First, we want to see what works and how people respond.
Second, we are slowly allowing some space and time to rebuild leadership, a team of musicians, and those who will help build the backbone of re-launching this next season for the Warehouse.
That’s right, you are invited to be a part of this process!
For this first service, we will be setup in the round. The scripture and story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 will create a structure for the service, as we’ll read it in three parts, each three times. Each reading will invite the gathered community into the story in a deeper way – with a bit of acting, sound effects, crowd participation, and even silence. Music will be the connective tissue that will move us through the story and give us space to contemplate and connect through song.
Of course, there will be one CRUCIAL and necessary piece to this first gathering… YOU!
More than anything, we need folks from our congregation to come and worship and give us feedback about your experience. Each gathering is a place of learning for us, and your feedback will be invaluable as we listen and grow into this new season.
Feel free to bring a friend. Tell them it’s for research purposes!
And if you are someone who wants to help us dream in this next season, please reach out to me or reply to this email.
If you can’t make it to this service, we invite you to mark your calendars for one of the future ones –
October 16 and November 20, both at 5pm.
God is doing a new thing in this moment as we take a step into the unknown. We’re so grateful to be on the journey with all of you.