Agape Meals, Young Adults & Cultivating Emerging Community Agape Meals, Young Adults & Cultivating Emerging Community
I must like to worry. I don’t think I like to worry. But, if I didn’t like to worry, I would have chosen smaller, much more manageable problems to concern myself with. One of the things I worry about is the future of the church. Fortunately, I don’t seem to be alone in my worrying about this issue. Greater, brighter, more educated minds than mine have written entire libraries the last few years on the future of the church.
So, I’d like to offer a mustard seed of Sunshine to grow in your soul as you worry for the future of the Church alongside me.
I spent my Saturday in a training for Agape Meals with about a dozen other young adults from around the Diocese. This is a project of the Diocese to help spark new emerging communities in the church. Emerging communities are new ways of doing church which hopefully engage people in different ways then the traditional church can.
Agape Meals are dinners with 10 people featuring a short liturgy and are hosted in people’s homes. For our purposes, we will focus on inviting people in their 20’s and 30’s, who are mostly disengaged from a church context. The Dinners will be seeded with us who are in some way engaged in the church context across the Diocese and who care about this kind of thing. After gathering, we will begin a liturgy consisting of Gospel Reading, Prayers of the People, and an extra-biblical sacred text - using a format called Lectio Divina. We will discuss what the texts are asking of us. Following this, the group will either begin cooking dinner together or peel back the foil on our Potluck Dishes and dig in. The purpose is to be a listening, caring community that builds relationships while including the sacred.
In the beginning, there will be three agape meal groups in the Diocese, located in Marina, Salinas & San Jose. Over the next five months, we will have three dinners. In June, we will have a BBQ with our community & Bishop Mary. Our churches are invited as well, so stay tuned. Following this, we will have two more dinners before the year ends.