Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mime Communion

This is my first blog, so before I jump into my story, I'll give a little background about my placement this year.  I am serving at Duck United Methodist Church, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It is a beautiful placement, right on the beach.  I haven't seen too much of the beach because I am constantly on the go here. I'm preaching at least every other week, serving as a liturgist, preparing and leading a course on Methodism, training members to lead Wesleyan Class Meetings, directing and leading music for Vacation Bible School, and working on a youth service project.  Throw in the thirty-seven dinners I'm having with members of the congregation along with regular visitation and 9-5 office hours, and there's not much time left for the beach.  It sounds like a lot, but I'm really having a fabulous time. The people here are wonderful and eager to be active in their congregation- something that seems a bit of a novelty these days in churches. This summer has already been transformative and I expect that it will only continue to be so.  

This past Sunday, The Rev. Dr. Laura Early visited Duck UMC.  She started All God's Children UMC, in Aulander, NC. She also does mime communion.  I'll make a confession, and it's the same one I made to Dr. Early- I have never liked mime communion, or clown communion, its close relative. It has always seemed a bit tacky and while I believe there is joy to be found in the Eucharist, it has always almost made a joke out of it.  Dr. Early's response surprised me. She told me that clown or mime communion, poorly done, made her want to vomit.  Well, all right. I prayed for an open mind and to not come to the service with any sort of bias against this type of communion. Dr. Early's spirit really made that quite easy.

I was not surprised to find myself completely in awe of this practice of mime communion.  There was no painted face, no silly gimmicks, no words. The story was told. The elements were consecrated. The difference was that people had to stretch their thinking, use other senses to be involved in the Eucharistic service. It was absolutely beautiful.

Did I mention that she preached? Boy, did she preach. It was so good to have a positive example of a female clergy person.  The majority of experiences I've had have been with women who were so focused on being allowed to preach, that they lost the gospel somewhere in the middle. Dr. Early never tried to defend anything about herself. She preached the gospel, and she did so dynamically and with grace.  I encourage you to check out what goes on at All God's Children UMC in Aulander. It is a beautiful ministry. I can't for the life of me find a link to the church's website, but this article pretty much sums up a few of the things that go on there: 


Dr. Early's visit and one of the pastor's (Rev. Ray Wittman) recent sermons have the congregation shifting in their pews, uncomfortable with doing the same old thing, and ready for church to be a lifestyle, not just a Sunday obligation. I can't wait to see what happens!

1 comment:

Cindy said...

My first experience with mime communion was done by Laura Early and it will be one I will never forget. It was outstanding just as she is. Her preaching is very moving.

Cindy Gregory