The following are the notes taken at the St. Stephen’s community forum on August 10th about the possibility of developing outdoor worship space:
1. What makes a place sacred or holy?
*Silence *Joy *Stillness * Quiet *Water *Circular shape *A focal point
*Nature (sounds & sight) *Trees *Good acoustics *Seclusion *Open
*Inviting *Beautiful *Color/warmth *Embracing *Soul *Safe
*Place that Gathers *Angle and quality of light *Unseen presence
*Mystery & Surprise *Natural materials/ Organic
A quiet, secluded and welcoming place that is beautiful, fits in with the earth and feels numinous or mysterious.
2. What words describe our community?
*Welcoming *Grounded *Intimate *Joyful *Safe *Hard working
*Happy *Diverse *Inclusive *Unconditionally accepting
*Humble *Hard working *Generous *Congenial *a comfortable size
*Mercy & Justice *Use our gifts/ don’t hide lights under a basket *Dependable
Heart community *Active *Uninhibited *Passionate *Forgiving
*Healing *Tolerant *Innovative
3. Where do you see life, change, growth and energy in our community?
*Always in transition, adapting *Children and young families arriving
*Young leadership *Outreach in community *New services (Taize)
Music *Peace work * Eucharist/liturgy- experimentation
*participation of children
4. How might a new outdoor worship space express or embody who we are and who we are becoming?
*concentric circles, kiva-like *see and face each other *open to all
*lives in the land *earth/stone *all inclusive haven *sign at entrance,
welcoming all faiths *honor our roots/keepers of tradition *outreach to
others *Playful, draw in children (place for children) *Comfortable
*place to exchange ideas *in tune with nature *intimate space for
individuals, small groups & larger groups *balancing intimacy and
capacity *olive trees * something in interior to be contemplated
*welcoming area for children, where they can participate (contained & part
of the experience) *Preserve/plant trees
5) As you meditate on this, put it in a larger context: what do you hope our parish might become?
Contemplative *More invitational *a sense of awe and wonder
*silence *more diverse and intergenerational *learn from others
*Keep identity and welcome other groups & faiths *Parish with Bibles in pews
scripture *Interfaith *Remember that quality is more important than quantity, don’t buy the cultural mantra that bigger is better *become a spiritual center for our community *small magnet-not too big *maintain intimacy as we grow *be a place that welcomes children.