My report as a Church of the Larger Fellowship Delegate

Being on the Planning Committee, representing the CLF/CYF, and being a delegate was interesting, to say the least.

I have not have a brick and mortar congregation for 5 years, although there are 14 UU congregations within an hours drive of me. Conferences, General Assembly, committee meetings, and the CYF have been My spiritual home in that time. I think the Ingathering on Wednesday helped fill the other half of congregational life that the annual CLF worship does not: that being the social interaction between members. In some ways, it was like walking into church, and having Coffeehour before Service! It also let me put faces to other CLF members, whom I could then look for in the rest of the week, and is an event that I would emphatically encourage us to continue.

I made it to each Plenary session. You may have seen me as the lad in the purple shirt trying to keep track of time as everyone was speaking at the microphones, ringing that powerful little bell, and causing parlimentary unrest on Sunday evening. All in all, a positive experience, although I am concerned that the Statement of Conscience as passed was transformed into something other than an SoC. Extraordinarily lengthy and unwieldy, I think it’s the worst and best example of a document word-smithed by a committee, and why that is never a good idea.

The CLF Worship service was a wonder, as always. The preview we received of Sources has me chomping at the bit to witness the Cantata in whole, being debuted at GA in Portland, 2007.

I hear that said service has long been known for good preaching, and good music. Something has nagged at me for a while, and it’s been in the last day that I’ve been able to grasp it and shape the idea into words, which I’ll share here: The CLF Worship is very much a worship in the same vein as a Soulful Sundown, with less amplification. This idea is striking to me. What is it about the concepts/people of the CLF, and those of the Young Adult communities, that make them create such similar worship stylings, in isolation of each other? What is present or missing in a given group that brings out or suppresses the potential for worships to be engaging and dynamic as these we find in the CLF and YA communities? I think a deeper look into this could inform the way we look at “alternative” worship stylings.

Those are the insights that I had at GA this year that relate to me as a congregant and delegate, and I hope to continue to study these ideas in the future, and serve as a delegate again in the future.

  1. I do regret not making it to the CLF worship.

  2. I don’t think these are happening in isolation. There are many ministers like Jane Rzepka who have been interested in working collaboratively with musicians in a congregational setting for years. She always selects the best preachers and musicians for the CLF services.
    In many ways, “Soulful Sundown” simply invites musicians even more deeply into the core of the service. But lots of bricks-n-mortar churches do this every week. It’s simply unfortunate that many ministers don’t know how to work this collaboratively with musicians and that many of us don’t live near such a congregation.

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