One of the things Dave and I (especially Dave) wanted to do during this sabbatical time was to take the kids to experience different kinds of worship services — some Episcopal, some not. So we’ve planned out a few services to go to over the next few weeks. Our idea is that we’ll go to worship, then out for ice cream afterwards to discuss what the kids noticed about the service and how it’s similar and different from what they are used to.
The first was tonight, at the SSJE Monestary in Cambridge. They have a Community Eucharist every Tuesday night. (If you have not been to a service at the monastery, you should go!). The kids were a bit apprehensive, worried the service would be formal and boring. It was formal, but apparently they did not find it boring and were very attentive through the whole thing, looking around at the beautiful chapel and stained glass. Lucy was very intrigued by the more high church touches, like incense and fancy candle holders. (In fact, she suggested we get “one of those cool marble canopy things,” i.e. a baldachin, at Redeemer.) Peter was able to confirm that he much prefers low church worship, most definitely without incense, but he liked the chanting.
Since I don’t normally get to worship with my children, I was extremely impressed by how engaged they were during the service (at the monastery, there is no chatting in the chapel — silence is observed for 10 mins before and after worship, which the kids did beautifully) and how well they were able to follow the liturgy. Credit is definitely due to Dave who is solely responsible for this fact. (Actually, probably credit is due to Evelyn, Peter, Linda, and their other Atrium teachers as well!). I did make them sit in the front row, which was helpful as they could really see everything. They were the only children present, but were warmly welcomed by the brothers and got to meet the monastery dog, Sophia, after the service. The kids noted Sophia is all black — just like the monk’s robes.
Afterwards, we had a fun family dinner at the Shake Shack to discuss what we found interesting about the service. A successful experiment! Next up is a evangelical church with a band, which should be an interesting contrast.