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Taking compline to the streets

Taking compline to the streets

Two seminarians took compline to the streets on Monday night during Lent in Berkeley. Maggie Foster and Spencer Hatcher, both first-year students at Church Divinity School of the Pacific were discussing ways to attract people to local churches when they decided instead to bring one of the church’s ancient liturgies out to the people.

From the CDSP website:

The group, which ranged between two and twelve people over six weeks, said the final office of the day at Indian Rock Park, the Martin Luther King Park World Wall for Peace, Springer Gateway at the University of California at Berkeley, the downtown Berkeley BART Station, on the Eastshore Footbridge, and at the Berkeley Pier. ….

For [Foster], the sense of bringing compline’s stillness to a busy world was the most enduring part of the experience. “I really realized this as we were praying on the Eastshore Footbridge, which was physically shaking,” she said, referring to the pedestrian walkway that crosses fourteen lanes of I80 near the San Francisco Bay.

“It became about how to bring myself as a contemplative being into a world that is not designed for that type of person,” said Foster. “How do you confront this busy, busy world with prayer and contemplation? I wasn’t setting out to explore that, but it is the question I am left with.”

Ashes to Go. Palm Sunday processions, Stations of the Cross in the streets, and now compline. Bit by bit, the church is coming out from behind its walls to meet the people where they are, to interrupt them gracefully in the midst of their daily lives and offer them a taste of what the church has to offer.


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Jesse Zink

A couple of years ago, some seminarians at Nashotah did this—and wrote about their experience here.

In addition to the evangelism aspect, such events are important for what they teach ourselves about our faith and how they show us God in new ways. The Nashotah seminarians reflect on this, as does Lauren Winner in her book, “Still,” after “dislocated exegesis”—taking the Bible and reading it in a new location.


More! I love the idea of taking church out to where the people are.

June Butler

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