St. Matthew’s Episcopal Parish and The Pray.Think.Love. House.
Uptown Westerville, Ohio
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Parish is located in Uptown Westerville. St. Matthew’s exists as a hybrid parish of both an inherited Sunday morning offering in a local Pub and a weekday indigenous offering centered in our Pray.Think.Love Episcopal House. As we reclaim the name “parish,” St. Matthew’s seeks to hold relationship as the prime directive and holy listening as the pathway to praxis. Our Episcopal House is the hub that defines St. Matthew’s mission and vision in, with, and for the community/parish.
Through the Episcopal House, we are free to see ourselves as a servant church, not unlike a monastic community, where continual prayer, a love for learning, and a desire to build relationships and through holy listening allows us to discover the culture and rhythm of our parish community. We have opened our house to the arts community one Friday a month in our gazebo, community contemplative prayer group on Tuesday evenings, a community Eucharist each Wednesday in our gazebo, Storytelling each third Thursday at a local coffee house, a pub theology gathering on Thursdays at a local pub, and we will soon begin an Anti-Bullying movement with some local spiritual entrepreneurs, just to mention a few offerings that serve our parish.
Our Sunday worship opportunities begin with an 8am Eucharist in the chapel of our Episcopal House followed by a 10:30am Eucharist a half block away at Old Bag of Nails Pub. Since we have connected our Sunday gathering space with our weekday community house, we have begun building a positive presence of radical inclusion and diversity. The pub setting has given us the opportunity to discover the intersection of sacred presence in the midst of indigenous space. We are beginning to establish a positive reputation as a prayer centered servant faith community.
It is the questions that drive us:
Can we reimagine church? Can we reimagine the role of priest as Rebbe? Can we claim the diaconal call, both lay and ordained, rooted in a living Baptismal covenant? What can we learn from the first century church, the early Celtic monastic movement, and our interfaith brothers and sisters? Can we give our faith away? Can the inherited church of Sunday morning allow the indigenous “weekday church?” Can we give our church away? Can we let resurrection be the rule of life that defines a church of joy and play? Can we not take ourselves too seriously? Can we own our authority in the teachings of Jesus and humble ourselves enough to know that evangelism is courageous kenosis? Can we see the church as adventure and mystery and wonder and awe? Can we live a deeper sacramental theology into community? How can we as a parish become a “campus of formation” in relation to other campuses in the Columbus area?
So, we live the questions, seek to hold the best of our Episcopal identity, reimagine new/old ways of being and celebrate organic connections. We look forward to participating in other campuses of formation in the Columbus area, as we continue to see ourselves as a teaching parish for all called to servant leadership in a servant Church.
PRAY: Spiritual / Formative / Soul-work
THINK: Conversational / Intellectual / Mind-work
LOVE: Relational / Monastic / Heart-work
INHERITED SACRAMENTAL: Weekend Church
PIONEER INDIGENOUS: Weekday Church
CAMPUSES OF FORMATION: Partner Communities
FOR CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH PLAY IN 10,000 PLACES!
In the last stanza of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem, As Kingfishers Catch Fire, he writes:
“…Christ – for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s (and women’s) faces.”
JOIN THE JOY!