I'm interrupting my usual Monday posting schedule to tell you about something that is dear to my heart and to ask for your prayers and your help.
Several years ago, I heard about something new happening in the church world. It was called St. Lydia's Dinner Church that a young woman named Emily Scott had started in New York City. I read about it and was amazed. A group of young adults were meeting in a Lutheran church on Sunday nights (having first started out in someone's apartment) to cook dinner together and sing songs and worship. Eucharist, sharing bread and wine, was part of the dinner as were some Bible readings and conversation about them. There was even a short homily. Then everyone cleaned up from the dinner and some retired to a local pub for more conversation.
Emily came from an Episcopal background but was in the process to be ordained as a Lutheran pastor.
I was intrigued. So I started paying attention. I went to New York and attended a service. I kept in touch with Emily. It was refreshing to see someone doing something new that was attracting young adults (and others!) that wasn't about video screens and guitars but rather was about deep conversation over food, a feeding of body and soul.
Over the last few years, St. Lydia's has moved a couple or three times and also has grown so that dinner church now happens on both Sunday AND Monday nights. Emily engaged the community in conversations beyond worship and food - establishing small groups to develop leadership and foster stewardship, determine whether they wanted to become affiliated with a denomination, establishing Bible study and movie groups, establishing a community garden, leading the members of the community into a deeper spiritual place through retreats and activities and a theology group.
It has come time for the community to have its own home after renting by the night from various churches and community centers. They found a place in Brooklyn. And immediately, Emily was leading the group into a new listening process in which St. Lydians just went to the neighborhood to meet the people who live there and to listen to what the people yearn for so that the community can listen to its own yearnings and discern how to contribute to the neighborhood, not just to meet there.
(Read Emily's wonderful sermon about this adventure in listening here.)
Frankly, you just don't see this kind of spiritual leadership that often. I admire Emily immensely. And I love what she and the other Lydians have done together in these last five years.
Now comes the ask. First of all, please keep St. Lydia's in your prayers. This community is doing God's work in their corner of the world. Your prayers will do much to support that work. Visit their website to learn more about St. Lydia's.
Second of all, click here to go to the campaign page and watch the adorable video about St. Lydia's Dinner Church, see photographs (including drawings of the proposed buildout of the new space, both for dinner church and for a daytime co-working space), and, if you can, contribute to this campaign. Even if you can only give $20, you'll be doing a lot to further the kingdom. This is a crowd funding adventure, meaning that people from all over the place are gathering together to give what they can to support something wonderful.
St. Lydia's is something wonderful. Please support them by giving to this campaign. But do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13: 15-16)