Right after Christmas, we received a new perspective on Christmas Eve services from Michele Sevacko, who attends Come & Worship, an emerging ministry in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“What is Moravian?” is a question I asked my friend, when she suggested that we try out a new “church” that met in a coffee house in the Arts District in Winston-Salem, N.C., more than seven years ago. Since moving to the area a few years before, I had seen quite a few Moravian churches but other than taking a walk around Old Salem, I was never curious enough to research what Moravian was. And the idea of a church that met in a coffee house intrigued me.
I’m not sure how I would describe Come & Worship but I certainly wouldn’t use the term “traditional” although there are many (if not all) of the components found in a traditional church service. The Christmas Eve Lovefeast and Candlelight Service is no exception.
Fast-forward to this year. We now meet in an Arts Center. When you enter, it takes a second to get oriented because the minister (Rev. Brad Bennett) is constantly rearranging the chairs in order to try to take full advantage of the space and make everyone comfortable. I enjoy the different arrangements because I think with each change it gives the opportunity to see things—and people—from different perspectives.
Arriving 20 minutes early for the lovefeast, I’m surprised at how many people are already there. As I look around, there are many faces that I know, and some that I don’t that have come as guests, but the one constant is that “come as you are” isn’t just about what you’re wearing (although you’ll see everything from shorts and jeans to suits).
During this time of year there is a lot of focus on gifts and I can’t help but be grateful for the gift of five senses that we’ve been given, as there is so much to experience through our senses. First, there’s the smell of the coffee for the lovefeast.
There are the sounds of traffic going by on the street, people chatting and the brass band warming up for a prelude of several traditional hymns. The Come & Worship band will play traditional carols, with special guests the “Rockers” weaving their more contemporary folk Christmas songs throughout. We enjoyed the instrumental and vocal beauty of some of the Rt. Rev. Sam Gray’s (our other minister) family as we enjoyed our buns and coffee.
There’s the taste of the Moravian buns and coffee that we share in fellowship, and touch, as we shake hands and/or hug in greeting and as a sign of peace.
And, lastly, there’s sight. A sight that might bring tears to your eyes as we share our light, lighting our candles from each other’s, raising them as we sing “Joy to the World” in celebration of the child who is The Light.
The best part of all is that if something doesn’t go exactly as planned (yes, it happens) it is okay! No one gets all flustered because we each have a sense that it’s a mistake-free zone, where no one is judging you—and, most importantly—the Holy Spirit guides.
So, if this blending of non-traditional with traditional resonates with you—as it has with me, for more than seven years—I hope when you’re in the Winston-Salem area you’ll join us and experience Come and Worship as WE come and worship. n
From the January/February 2016 Moravian Magazine