One Holy People Gathered

Rev. Dr. Amy Butler of Riverside Church in New York has this powerful reflection to offer about singing in community. Read on and let us know what you think.

Talk with the Preacher

Last Sunday I stood at the front of the church, as I do most weeks, to welcome the community to worship. After I finished my remarks, I made my way to my seat on the side of the chancel to await the beginning of the opening hymn. The organ began to play and I stood with the congregation to sing the opening hymn:

Baptized in one confession,
One church in all the earth.

The architecture of our church is such that there is significant space between the chancel and the congregation, a canyon that sometimes feels impossibly wide. For the necessary community-building work of worship, especially in our congregational polity, this distance can be disconcerting. I am always looking for ways to bridge the gap, to establish a connection, to be myself among the worshipping congregation.

Last Sunday in particular I felt that distance sharply as I heard the…

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