Star Sunday Star Installation

A few years ago, RCC jumped on the Star Word bandwagon.  If you are unfamiliar with it, essentially what happens is, on Epiphany, everyone receives a star with a word on it.  You blindly choose the star, so you do not get to pick your own word.  This word – your Star Word – is meant to guide your year.  Sometimes it is a word that seems fitting, sometimes it is a word that will challenge you and sometimes it is a word that might not make sense for you, but might also teach you a lot about yourself.  Here is my sermon the first year we did it.

Truth be told, I’m not really sure how the words, themselves, are chosen.  Some clergy choose their own words when they make the stars, but there are also several Star Word documents floating around online that people use.  When we started Star Words in 2017, a friend of mine graciously forwarded the document they used.  It has 120 stars with different words on them.  We print out two copies on card stock (we’ve done a different color every year so people can keep track of their stars) so we have 240 stars to hand out and then cut them out.

Last year one of my church members came to church after the New Year and she told me about something her home church in New Jersey had done for Christmas – they had suspended paper stars (using fishing line strung from the balcony).  She told me she immediately thought of me and told me we should try it one Christmas.  My first thought was – Star Sunday!  She emailed me some photos and this year I enlisted a few people to make it happen.  It was whimsical!

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Our pile of stars! We made 130 in different sizes following this tutorial.  Make sure you punch a hole in the stars before you start gluing them together!  It makes it so much easier to hang.

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Since we don’t have a wrap-around balcony (the church we got the idea from did and they just strung the fishing line from one side of the balcony to another) we strung them from the lights, instead.  Once we got those up, we strung more from the lights on the sides to the windowsills, so it looked like it filled the entire sanctuary.

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Once we started to get them suspended from the ceiling, we used the rest to fill in the rest of the sanctuary – on the altar, in the windows, etc. They were everywhere!

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The glass bowls on the altar had the star words in them.

The pictures didn’t even do it justice.  You just had to experience it!

It was so much fun to stand in the narthex and watch people walk into the sanctuary that Sunday!

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One of my Deacons told me that as she was driving to church, she was kind of bummed because she knew the decorations would be down and the sanctuary would be empty and then she walked in and saw this!  It was definitely an amazing way to kick off the year.

Before we were even finished hanging them, we started talking about next year.  Do we want to do them again?  Yes!  We’ve got some ideas to bring in other kinds of stars.  We let people take the stars that were loose around the church so we will have to make some more next year, but making 50 or so won’t be as bad, considering we made 130 this year!

This was easy, it just required a little bit of help!  Get a group together and give it a shot at your church next year for Epiphany! ⭐️

 

Jesus’ Baptism Altar 2017

So I didn’t preach last week, which was, to be quite honest, really strange.  Usually if I’m not preaching, I am either away or there is something else going on requiring my attention.  Last week we were just hosting a neutral pulpit so I set up worship, like I normally do – but most of the actual worship leading came from our worship leader and the candidate preaching their neutral pulpit.  I robed, but I actually worshipped from the pews!  It was really nice.  But – that means no sermon this week.

So instead I decided to give you all some eye candy.  I finally uploaded the photos I took of the altar I put together for Jesus’ baptism a few weeks ago.  We were in between florists, so I had a rare flowerless Sunday and, I’m not going to lie, I loved it.

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Jon always says not to mirror and to use uneven numbers of candles, which goes against everything our flower committee was taught by the matriarchs of the church, but it totally works here.

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I really love the way the background of the white fabric works against the dark grains of the wood in our sanctuary. Unfortunately, this white fabric has seen better days! It has a lot of stains on it at this point.

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The stones were decorative, but they were also functional. They were holding up the vase so it was tipping just enough to be “pouring” the water.  I’ll be honest – I was shocked it held up.

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The only slight issue was the fact that the deacons were nervous about the acolytes lighting these candles, so they decided to light them before worship instead of having an acolyte bring the light in during the prelude. Our kids serve as acolytes, so I did see their point – I just need to keep that in mind next time.

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I love that the lectionary starts the new year with Jesus’ baptism for so many reasons, but from a visual perspective, I love the stark contrast between the way the church is decorated for Advent and Christmas and this. it’s a great visual reminder that it’s time for a new year, fresh start and something different.

I have to look at the lectionary, but I’m not sure I’ll do another altar until Ash Wednesday.  Any ideas??

Pentecost Altar 2016

So I always say that worship, programs, events, etc. at the church must be meaningful, relevant and accessible.  They are my go-to standards in ministry, ones I also try to hold myself to on this blog as well.

So do you know what is NOT relevant right now?  Pentecost.

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And yet, I was going through my photos from Europe and realized that I took these photos of our huge Pentecost installation back in May and I never posted them on here!  So here we go – my apologies that this is not at all relevant.  Pin now, look in 2017!

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Back in May, I was planning Pentecost (which coincided with Confirmation Sunday).  I was in the mood for something different, so I sent one of our deacons this text early in the week:

So I have a rare flower-less Sunday this week because our florist is away.  Any Pentecost ideas?  I’m thinking go big or go home.

She responded in less than a minute with a string of fabulous ideas …

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… and this is what we came up with!

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I would say I had about half the fabric on hand so I did have to buy some.  I love that stretchy polyester blend fabric that doesn’t wrinkle and just flows and I had them cut about 4-6 yards of each.  I wanted red to be the primary color, but since red can be a little bit harsh (especially when the shades clash) I also grabbed an orange and yellow so we could create the full “fire” effect.

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I actually crawled up into the organ pipes to secure the fabric but this installation was actually pretty quick and easy.  It was definitely a two-person job and it was so fun to work with someone!  Honestly, a lot of times I put these altars together by myself, but I’ve realized a couple of times over the past few months that asking someone to help not only helps with the physical workload something, but spiritually, it is such an amazing shared practice.  Probably exactly what the Body of Chris is supposed to look like?

Okay, well since I’m so on top of things lately, stay tuned for a couple of weeks when I start sharing my thoughts on Easter liturgy – ha!