William James delivered a series of lectures at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland over months during 1901 to 1902. Those lectures were collected and published as The Varieties of Religious Experience.
James was a psychologist at Harvard University and stated clearly that his examination of religious experience and practice was not from the perspective of church doctrine or history but as a consideration of religious phenomena and individual expression.
While I do not intend to wade into the deep and complicated currents of thought involving aspects of Religious Experience, I would like our church to consider some of those currents expressed in our practice of worship, fellowship and mission.
Are we being sensitive to the varieties of need and expectations of folk we invite into our circle of Christian Fellowship? Are we set in our ways that create barriers for others?
Last month I invited readers of the Vision to consider joining a small group either as a newly formed Sunday School Class that would continue to meet or as a temporary group for reading and discussion.
There are a few people meeting in a new class not yet named or formalized. Those few have gathered three times and last Sunday met in the classroom in the CAC where former adult classes have met.
We have also met three times as we have restarted 8:30 worship in the CAC for a casual gathering. We will continue to meet at 8:30 with a casual atmosphere and welcome all ages. We need to have a place for young children at 8:30 and will attempt of find volunteers.
The commitment to offer different times and settings for Worship and Study are the life blood of a faith community. The church is not being true to Christ’s commandment to go and make disciples without the effort to offer the space for a variety of introductions. I will do my best to guide those opportunities.
I will be available in the church office on Monday from 9:00 to 4:00, on Tuesdays when we often have evening meetings from 12:00 to 6:00, on Wednesday when Children and Youth have activities from 1:00 to 7:00 and on Thursday from 9:00 to 3:00. Friday will be my study time and Saturday will be my Sabbath. There will be hours I am in meetings and hours I am on the phone with church members and friends beyond the time I am at my desk. I will be available for pastoral visits as needed such as hospital visits, funerals, and Benevolence emergencies. I am formalizing these hours at the request of people who have stated discomfort about my unavailability in the church office. If a need arises and I am not physically present I will be available on my cell phone: 901-456-6655 as has been stated in the weekly bulletin and through most anybody active in the business of the church if you ask them to be in contact with me.
Peace and Grace,