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Source: (consider it) Thread: Eccles: Metropolitan Community Church Worship
Eddy
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In Purgatory their has been some discussion on the MCC Church. A bit of the chat has been on worship so I thought I'd introduce chat on MCC Church worship here.

quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
quote:
Originally posted by Laetare:
Thats a good point Anglican Brat.

Sandushinka was talking about the culture of his/her church not suiting LGBT folk. Can anyone say what the culture of MCC is like?

Instead of singing Immortal, Invisible, they sing this

Enjoy [Big Grin]

What is MCC worship like?

What does it give the wider church?

Any experiences?

[ 16. February 2010, 08:57: Message edited by: Think² ]

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Laetare:
In Purgatory their has been some discussion on the MCC Church. A bit of the chat has been on worship so I thought I'd introduce chat on MCC Church worship here.

quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
quote:
Originally posted by Laetare:
Thats a good point Anglican Brat.

Sandushinka was talking about the culture of his/her church not suiting LGBT folk. Can anyone say what the culture of MCC is like?

Instead of singing Immortal, Invisible, they sing this

Enjoy [Big Grin]

What is MCC worship like?

What does it give the wider church?

Any experiences?

I've gone to a few services, but it was long ago - in the 80s. The worship was Evangelical, which is I think because the founders of MCC were themselves Evangelical.

It gave gay people - people who grew up Evangelical, especially - a place to go to worship in those days, when there was really no other place you could go without having to hide. I didn't stay, myself, but quite a number of my friends did, in those days.

I guess it still fulfills that same function, in fact, because not much has changed in the "wider church." I think it's gone worldwide now, and I get hits on my blog on a post about it from Malaysia and other places.

[ 09. August 2009, 18:53: Message edited by: TubaMirum ]

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Eddy
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Yes I thought the worship would be evangelical. But maybe with its own slant as well.

I found a mystery worship report and its here. Its an MCC church in Manchester, UK where apparantly they wont say 'Father' in the Our Father in the liturgy because its sexist.

Thats not main stream evangelical. [Smile]

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Laetare:
Yes I thought the worship would be evangelical. But maybe with its own slant as well.

I found a mystery worship report and its here. Its an MCC church in Manchester, UK where apparantly they wont say 'Father' in the Our Father in the liturgy because its sexist.

Thats not main stream evangelical. [Smile]

You're right, it's not. I don't think it was that way when I went, but perhaps it was; I can't really remember the particulars.

It was a college town, and a lot of the members were friends of mine from A.A., so that might affect how things were done, too.

I wasn't really very interested in the church in those days, but they had asked me to play some music for them before the service (classical guitar), so I was happy to do that. I guess they were probably trying to convert me, now that I think of it, but it was pretty low-key.

And they were my friends, so I was completely comfortable in that respect. It was very, very welcoming, and relaxed. I just had no interest at all, I'm afraid....

[ 09. August 2009, 19:06: Message edited by: TubaMirum ]

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leo
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MCC has to be Communion every Sunday. The rite is fairly standard - penitence, scripture, preaching, intercessions, the peace, offertory, eucharistic prayer, breaking of the bread, sharing of communion (wafers intincted, reflecting HIV concerns), thanksgiving, blessing and dismissal.

One unusual practice is a very long, personalised prayer over each communicant. Some find this deeply moving. I find it deeply embarrassing.

Anyone is allowed to preside (if trained to 'do communion'), not just an ordained pastor. This reflects their deeply held belief in 'the priesthood of all believers.

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TubaMirum
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I remember that "praying over people" now that you mention it, at the altar rail (not that there was actually a rail).

I didn't realize that it was Communion every week, though. The service I went to was at 5 p.m., I remember now - probably because of the "college town" aspect....

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Eddy
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Now Catholics give an emphasis on Mass, Anglicans (mostly) have a distinct tradition, methodists and hymn singing etc.

So what is MCC church's contribution to the larger than them world of worship?

Maybe its this gender neutral way of speaking about God. Is there another church that does this in the majority of its churches?

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Laetare:
So what is MCC church's contribution to the larger than them world of worship?

Well, I guess you could say that it gives gay people a place to worship without being hounded, so that the rest don't have to bother themselves with that.
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TiggyTiger
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It encourages diversity, tolerance and openness. Not everyone who goes there is gay. Some just like it because of the above reasons and that they feel safer there than in a lot of other churches. They don't have to pretend to believe things they don't or pretend to be someone they're not.

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TiggyTiger
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Oh and though our one is a very small church, we provide education to a boy in Africa and contribute money towards local charities. We have a sister church in South Africa and raise awareness of issues of persecution of gay people in other countries.

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Eddy
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Do the MCC Church have a set liturgy or are they more 'Protestant' in feel, with a locally / individually devised form?
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Knopwood
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I've not yet been to either of the MCC congregations in Toronto, but those who have tell me that it's a bit all things to all people. The footage I've seen would seem to indicate a mainline Protestant flavour, but with e.g. weekly Eucharist for the ex-Catholics, and some charismatic-type singing for those of that background. But for the most part, it seemed very similar to the United church I spent time in as a child.
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Oblatus
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Then, of course, there's this humorous video account of a visit to a local MCC church (after a visit with the Jehovah's Witnesses).

[ 10. August 2009, 14:26: Message edited by: Oblatus ]

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Eddy
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[Smile] Thanks, Oblatus.

I can't find a MCC church liturgy online, or their hymn book. I bet the hymn book and liturgy is different because of not calling God Father. Quite a few hymns will have to be altered a bit I guess.

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CorgiGreta
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LQ,

Having visited the "Mother Church" twice, I would agree with your friends' assessment.

Whether one's background is Anglican, Lutheran, Mainline Protestant, Pentecostal, Evangelical, and possibly even Roman Catholic, there is something in the service that will be familiar.

That may be (for better or worse) MCC's special contribution to the wprship world. It displays the ultimate blended worship.

Greta

[ 10. August 2009, 22:59: Message edited by: CorgiGreta ]

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Intrepid Thurifer
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For our more catholic gay brothers and sisters there is this church web page
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toaster
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Laetare, if you're so interested, I'd say just go along to a service and see what it's like. Your profile says that you're in London, where there are three MCCs: North London, South London and East London. (Not to be confused with MCC London in London, Ontario.)
I don't know, but I'd guess the three services/congregations/styles will vary but the general themes of inclusivity and community, plus an open communion will be common to both. I'm sure you would be welcomed to any or all if you went along.

You could even be a Mystery Worshipper...

Generally, as has been said by others, MCC services vary quite a lot depending on the congregation's background. My experiences there have been overwhelmingly positive.

There isn't a specific MCC hymn book, IME hymns are selected from many sources, and some may be modified to make the language more inclusive, and then projected during the service so there's no need for any books (certainly not the only church to do this). Again, I think it depends on the congregation.

The church Bylaws are all online here and aren't all that long if you fancy a read through them.

I'd like to post a longer reply but I don't have time now.

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Prayer is not an occasional nod
Given in passing to God.
It's more like marriage - a closeness of living,
A constant receiving and giving. Louie Horne, 1987 QF&P 2.25

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Eddy
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Thanks toaster for the advice. I may well attend, it seems in some ways at least a congenial space [Biased]

But its good to chat here about their worship to, is it not [Smile]

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Knopwood
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quote:
Originally posted by toaster:
(Not to be confused with MCC London in London, Ontario.)

Wow, you mean there are queer people in London? I thought they were all in exile in Toronto.
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toaster
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Oh, and also, at the MCC I've spent the most time at, there was no 'praying over people' so it's not a universal thing. The bread and wine are blessed by the celebrant and then passed from one to the other through the congregation. Prayer is available after the service for those that choose to seek it though.

--------------------
Prayer is not an occasional nod
Given in passing to God.
It's more like marriage - a closeness of living,
A constant receiving and giving. Louie Horne, 1987 QF&P 2.25

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Eddy
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The celebrant of communion, toaster, is anyone who is allowed - is that right.

Lay people can do it, as MCC has no priesthood restrictions - all are priests. Have I got that right?

Do they have there own communion prayer?

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toaster
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Yes I believe so. I think the pastor, board and potential celebrant discuss suitability for the role and then there is some relevant training provided.

There is a strong belief in the priesthood of all believers and many lay members take leadership positions in the church. Typically during the service there will be different people leading, preaching, celebrating communion and leading prayers. Some, or none of these may be ordained clergy.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by communion prayer. Do you mean the whole celebration? I think this, as with so much, is congregation specific, but in my experience is fairly standard: confession, absolution (said to and for one another), shared peace, communion hymn, introduction (open invitation to Christ's table), consecration (with congregational response), thanksgiving prayer.

I'm no ecclesiastical expert though, I'm just speaking from my own experiences not the letter of the law.

--------------------
Prayer is not an occasional nod
Given in passing to God.
It's more like marriage - a closeness of living,
A constant receiving and giving. Louie Horne, 1987 QF&P 2.25

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leo
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'The communion prayer' is what many evangelicals call the eucharistic prayer/prayer of consecration.
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Eddy
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Yes I used Communion Prayer 'cos I don't think the MCC church would say Eucharistic Prayer. What I was wondering is if they have there own or if the person just says a prayer they like over the bread and wine.

the problem is if they use someone elses they'd need to cut out the bits that call God father.

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toaster
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Sorry, I am showing my ignorance of matters ecclesiastic here (maybe I shouldn't be on this board). Sitting in the congregation I don't necessarily know what each particular section of the liturgy is called. It's not a case of what would the MCC church say, it's just that I don't know which bit you mean exactly.

What is the C of E/Methodist/Church of Scotland etc. communion prayer for example? Is there only one? Used in all churches, every time there is communion? Would it be a problem to use someone else's prayer? Would it be a problem not to?

IME at MCC the words and prayers used during communion are usually the same regardless of celebrant and I don't think Father is used at all in that bit (God, Heavenly Parent etc might be used as replacements). Whether it's the same as another church's, I don't know. It's certainly fairly similar to other mainstream UK Protestant denominations I've been to.

On a more general point on inclusive language, it's not necessarily the case that Father is never used in anything, particularly in hymns where inclusifying can only go so far before the song no longer scans, or it's so well known hymn that people will sing what they know anyway. But I think that where that is the case, elsewhere in the service, there will typically be a metaphor/reference to God as female.
Inclusification(?) should be done intelligently (not that it always is though we are only human after all!).

--------------------
Prayer is not an occasional nod
Given in passing to God.
It's more like marriage - a closeness of living,
A constant receiving and giving. Louie Horne, 1987 QF&P 2.25

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Eddy
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On Inclusive language:

Are there other churches than the MCC church which say don't call God Father, but prefer creator or rock or whatever. This seems quite a big thing to me, and I bet some people in churches would have a strong opinion about it.

It must be hard to avoid saying 'he' or 'him' about God.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by toaster:
What is the C of E/Methodist/Church of Scotland etc. communion prayer for example?

Prayers like this (CofE) used in services
like this (Methodist)

quote:

Is there only one?

Most denominations that have them have more than one, though not hundreds.

quote:

Used in all churches, every time there is communion?

By Roman Catholics, yes. Anglicans and Methodists sort-of yes-in-theory. Probably almost everywhere almost everytime in the CofE, a little bit less fixed in the Methodists. Presbyterians and the like tend to tread the written liturgies more as suggestions than as scripts.

quote:

Would it be a problem to use someone else's prayer?

In the Church of England its against the rules not to use the authorised prayers. But in practice loads of people don't. A few - I'd guess about five percent - CofE parishes use one of the Roman Catholic prayers. Some of the more liberal parishes might make their own up. Just about everybody has minor local variations, Evangelicals probablkuy sticking to the book more closely than Anglo-Catholics.

Methodists are probably even more variable than that. Some will all but improvise, as you might in a Baptist church. Others will go by the book. A few might use old Anglican BCP prayers (though I doubt if any would use the current ones) and there might even be one or two who used Catholic prayers. You probably wouldn't get that in a Presbyterian church! Though I did see a Catholic Missal and a lectionary on the bookshelf of a Presbyterian elder in Glasgow once...

The trouble with Christians not calling God Father, is that its one of the few things just about everybody agrees that Jesus actually told us to do! And if the poitn of Christianity is knowing God in Jesus Christ, it seems a bit odd not to do what he said.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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leo
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Evangelical Anglicans are LESS likely to stick to the book that those of us with a more catholic bent. I know of evangelical communion services where the 'communion prayer' makes no mention of the words of institution.

As for 'Father' one our Anglican eucharistic prayers describes God, in very scriptural terms, as a mother: As a mother tenderly gathers her children,
you embraced a people as your own. http://www.cofe.anglican.org/worship/liturgy/commonworship/texts/hc/prayerg.html

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Eddy
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quote:
As for 'Father' one our Anglican eucharistic prayers describes God, in very scriptural terms, as a mother: As a mother tenderly gathers her children,
Yes, indeed Leo, thats a very good point, although I bet that prayer doesn't start 'Almighty Mother...'.

But, I don't think thats quite the MCC church issue. They don't like gender specific words for God, so Mother wouldn't do, you see.

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leo
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We will have to wait until Common Worship 2020!

AS for gender specific talk of God, I used to get told off if I used such language and I went along with it until someone pointed out that God is Being not doing (as in creating, sustaining and what not).

Contrary to what I said in reply to Ken on a different strand, I think inclusive language has gone too far and I find MCC liturgy a step too far.

I believe MCC has a special witness but I am glad that I am able to be part of the wider, mainstream, much though it annoys me at times.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Hooker's Trick

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Evangelical Anglicans are LESS likely to stick to the book that those of us with a more catholic bent.

Depends which book you're talking about...
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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Hooker's Trick:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Evangelical Anglicans are LESS likely to stick to the book that those of us with a more catholic bent.

Depends which book you're talking about...
Well, any I'd guess. If you're talking about the C of E. Even the Bible doesn't get much of a look-in in some evo churches (less so than in those that follow the lectionary and have three readings plus a psalm every Sunday.)

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Brian: You're all individuals!
Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

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TiggyTiger
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God is Being not doing

I thought God was a verb, i.e non static. Was it Rosemary Reuther who wrote about God as 'verb'?

It's funny, I always like being and not doing myself, but I would prefer to see God as having some movement - otherwise He seems sterile.

--------------------
'Each and everybody is hiding, each is concealing the place where his heart beats.'
Daniel Barenboim

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leo
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I prefer Aquinas to Reuther.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Eddy
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I thought the MW report was good when it said:

quote:
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
I particularly liked the open communion – anyone who was "looking for God" was welcome to partake.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The political correctness in over-using inclusive language. I struggled with the idea of starting the Lord's Prayer with "Loving God in heaven", rather than "Our Father". If Jesus referred to God as his Father, that's good enough for me, and I felt that changing the biblical account was unhelpful.

This was about the Manchester MCC church, but I guess its like others.
The report is here.

I like the open communion idea, but like the MWer am v unhappy about not saying 'Father' in the Our Father.

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Eddy
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I would be interested to know thoughts on this idea of not calling God, father that the MCC church have.

I found the manchester Mystery Worshipped MCC church with info on this no 'Our Father' thing, now I wonder iff other MCC churches have been mystery worshiiped.

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Cadfael
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I prefer Aquinas to Reuther.

In order to help with the reduction of my ignorance, I wonder if you might be so kind as to unpack that? I'm sure St. Th. Aquinas's works are amongst the classics that I should have read, but...

[Hot and Hormonal]

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TiggyTiger
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originally posted by Leo

I prefer Aquinas to Reuther.


Well each to their own! :-)

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'Each and everybody is hiding, each is concealing the place where his heart beats.'
Daniel Barenboim

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Hermeneut:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I prefer Aquinas to Reuther.

In order to help with the reduction of my ignorance, I wonder if you might be so kind as to unpack that? I'm sure St. Th. Aquinas's works are amongst the classics that I should have read, but...

[Hot and Hormonal]

Thomas Aquinas is THE theologian of the Western Church and his work covers every aspect of systematic theology. With reference to the debate on this thread, he stated that God is pure being, 'is-ness'. God cannot, therefore, be reduced to a function e.g. 'creator, sustainer' etc. My remark was addressed to Tiggy Tiger who thought that God was adverb, not a noun. That is heresy.

Rosemary Radford Reuther is a feminist theologian. She has several insights that men need to take on board. However, she is a single-issue theologian and sees everything through feminist eyes. Much as I support Feminist theology (and Liberation, Minjung and Queer theologies), the Christian faith is much bigger than a version of it peddled by a single-issue group.

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Long Mire
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I went to the Manchester MCC service once. It was OK. I thought it was identical to a methodist service. It was very much like a club though, people knew each other and broke up quickly into tight little circles chatting away.

One odd thing. A guy was there who I was told was 'the pastor' he was big and quite loud. He wore vestments like a Church of England priest - alb and chasuble. BUT he didn't do much. Someone else preached and someone else said words over the bread and (awful tasting) wine. I thought that was bit odd. The pastor all dressed up with nothing to do. I got the impression he rather liked being dressed up!

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Eddy
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I can't think why a pastor would be dressing up like that! It seems dead odd if he wasnt actually the celebrant, I've not come across that - but they're not a Catholic church are they - like they don't have Bishops or priests or deacons just pastors.

Maybe they just borrow robes from whatever tradition they feel like, or what they think there members will like.

One idea could be for the lay person saying the prayer over the bread to wear the chasuble for the prayer maybe. That would show were all priests if you get me.

Mind you if the pastor likes dressing up he wouldnt like to share his clothes with others

[Smile]

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Fr Cuthbert
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I don't know much about lay celebration, and the example quoted does raise a lot of questions. Why would the 'pastor' wear eucharistic vestments if not actually celebrating. It gives a very mixed message to those attending.

Certainly I have not come across this thing before. Usually non celebrating clergy wear a cassock and surplice or cotta with or without a stole.

It would be interesting to know about other lay celebration settings and who wears what.

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Doublethink.
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I imagine it suggests he sees the chasuble as being like the stole - rather than of significance to the eucharist only.

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Eddy
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I guess so. But no other church does it that way as far as I know.

Anyone else know if there are churches where the chasuble is worn but not by the person that says the Eucharistic prayer?

But the MCC church doesn't have priests or a tradition much being so new so I guess they are just borrowing bits and pieces from other churches.

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Long Mire
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The mixed message to those attending that Fr Cuthbert mentions in relation to MCC is a very good point, and one I thought of when I went to their Manchester branch.

The saying of the prayer over the bread and wine by a guy casually dressed was OK but it certainly showed that MCC in their theology don't see that as very important. The guy who dresses up seems to be important but did very little except give out notices and be a bit loud.

A rather louche guy with significant embonpoint was at a keyboard, I asked a lady about him as he seemed important. I was told he was 'the power behind the throne!'

That is another example of the mixed message. Mind you I guess in other free churches the powerful people aren't necessarily
those who dress up in the liturgy, and some laity are more in the know than others and have a strong influence over the pastor.

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Eddy
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Apparently MCC do mass gay blessings. It says here the MCC pastor did 70 in one go.I wonder what liturgy was used for that!
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beachpsalms
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I've been to MCC Toronto a few times. I find Brent Hawkes to be an engaging preacher, and I enjoy the relaxed and welcoming feeling of worship (and the vestments). The worship is similar enough to United Church that I feel quite comfortable, and different enough that I don't spend the whole service critiquing it.

So far, I've found myself in tears each time I've gone, and left with a refreshed spirit, and some things to think about.

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Laurie17
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I have only attended one MCC church.

It was the most theologically literate and active congregation I have ever experienced, including my time at a university church ! Many members led the worship and preached amazingly theologically well-informed sermons.Also very relevant.

A flexible eucharist liturgy with structure and plenty of room for experiment and variety.

Also the congregation ran and did most things. It really was impressive.

It was in London, UK.

[ 03. September 2009, 22:57: Message edited by: Laurie17 ]

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TiggyTiger
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The saying of the prayer over the bread and wine by a guy casually dressed was OK but it certainly showed that MCC in their theology don't see that as very important.

I don't see the connection there. People don't always dress up for things they consider important. Most people go casually dressed to church and at MCC churches the laity serve communion. It doesn't mean the congregation don't see it as important. I would say at our one we see it as very important.

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Long Mire
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quote:
Originally posted by TiggyTiger:
The saying of the prayer over the bread and wine by a guy casually dressed was OK but it certainly showed that MCC in their theology don't see that as very important.

I don't see the connection there. People don't always dress up for things they consider important. Most people go casually dressed to church and at MCC churches the laity serve communion. It doesn't mean the congregation don't see it as important. I would say at our one we see it as very important.

Tiggytiger, I think I maybe did not put my point clearly. I support lay celebration, I wish the Church of England did more of it. I don't mind what folk wear.

What was unusual and odd I thought was that one guy dressed like an anglican vicar with white robe and chasuble and was big and a bit loud, but all he did was talk before the services and say notices! BUT he was dressed like a vicar. The presider at the communion was in casual dress. That muddled dress code to me made the notices seem more important than the communion. See what I mean?

Basically I couldnt see any point in the big guy dressing up as a vicar just to read the noitces.

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