Service of Healing and Renewal – April 14, 2013

By Elizabeth Campbell

A Service of Healing and Renewal has been held once or twice a year for the past 8 – 10 years.

The one held on Sunday, April 14 was quite different due to the enthusiastic leadership of Glenn Potter, our Interim Music Director. He and his wife had attended a Taize service in San Diego while they were on holiday earlier this year, and he thought what he learned there could add richness to our service. Shirley Chandler and Elizabeth Campbell were also aware of the Taize style of worship, and they worked with Glenn and Rev. Dr. Grant Dawson to plan the service.

Although what was experienced on Sunday was only partially a “Taize Service”, there were elements that made it special.

First was the music. Glenn chose to begin with the Kyrie, with soloist Shawn Dawson singing from the east balcony. The chants used throughout were chosen to bring a sense of opening oneself to God, to healing, renewal and joy. Musicians added to the ambience; Lauren Eselson, flute and Chris Rawlyck, guitar. The choir, piano, flute and guitar were especially appreciated during the time of anointing and blessing.

Second was the silence. In order that silence was encouraged, people were directed to enter only by the 4th Street entrance, sit toward the front of the church, lighting was subdued. Short times of silence were observed during the service. Helping to create the sense of expansion in the silence was Edna Poffenroth’s reading of the Scripture from the  balcony.

Third was the cross. In Taize services a cross lies flat on the floor at the front of the congregation and chairs are placed close by to allow worshipers to meditate. We used our Easter cross upright in front of the communion table. Our reverend Grant Dawson affirmed the theological rightness of this placement when he observed that we must go through the cross to get to the table where we are fed, anointed, and blessed.

This service is always a highlight for members of the Healing Touch Ministry.

It is a privilege to anoint with oil in Jesus’ name, a sign of the healing power of God, and to offer the Blessing: May the renewing power of the Holy Spirit make you whole in body, mind, and spirit.

The music, the lighting of candles, the silence, Grant’s words, and the anointing and blessing all worked together to make it a memorable and meaningful service, a source of renewal and healing for all of us.

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