I debuted a new mid-week Advent service called Soul Strength. it was simple to do completely by myself, and I highly recommend it as an alternative to, or in addition to, a Blue Christmas service. I used recorded music, a practice I usually eschew, but since we weren’t singing along to it and it was entirely instrumental it worked well.
ESCHEW. What a great word.
I did not want to wear a robe or stole for the service as I wanted it to feel entirely welcoming to people of any faith or no faith. I wanted to choose a restful palette that wouldn’t clash with the poinsettias and greenery in the sanctuary. I wanted to be comfortable sitting in it in front of people as I knew I would be giving the minister’s message from a seated position (cozier and more intimate than standing, and a practice I borrowed from St. Gregory of Nyssa Church in San Francisco whose preachers sit). So no pencil skirts, which are my usual choice.
First I chose a peplum top from ModCloth that has a muted floral print. It’s a bit big on me so I thought I’d pair it with slim pants. Click on all the photos to enlarge:
And a pointed toe shoe with purple socks (ten points if you get the literary reference):
But the pants looked too informal so I switched them out for a proper trouser:
Better! The lines are more polished, always a challenge for a size 20 meatball-shaped babe.
Then I felt like I needed something a little dressier to fill in the neckline of the blouse a bit so I added the necklace:
And then I was ready to go.
Here’s basically how I structured the Soul Strength Service:
Quiet, meditative music for folks to come in to.
Meditation (Checking in with ourselves: how am I really doing? Where do I feel strongest Where do I feel most needy, weak, vulnerable? What do I most need?)
Minister’s Message: acknowledging the many sources of stress, grief and suffering this season, personally and nationally.
Ending with the question from the earlier meditation: “what do we most need,” invite people to share what they need, and invite them to light a candle to cement the intention to take care of some of those needs in the coming week.
(Ending with invitation to one-on-one healing prayer with minister. I set up two chairs and sat and prayed individually with people who came up to the chancel while others remained seated)