Designing an Ecumenical Service of Morning Praise

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Cline, Sandra
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
Our pastoral response was to design and implement an attractive and convenient “Midweek Prayers” service that would encourage the participation of both Trinity parishioners and St. Richard’s staff. Without the opportunity for such participation, they miss a part of the prayerful life that is both required of Christians and a part of the grace given to them. Our goal was further to establish a format that was comfortable for the participants, the beginning of a framework that would perpetuate lay leadership for the weekly service and a process through which intentions could be communicated to the leadership. The design process would be carried out over a period of nine consecutive weeks at the beginning of the 1998-99 school year. Participation by a diverse group would be invited, including both the St. Richard’s personnel and Trinity parishioners. Additionally, because of Trinity’s central location on a main artery from the Indianapolis, Indiana, northside into the downtown area, persons from other traditions would be invited to test whether such a service might be appealing and useful to a wider fellowship. The project would be planned in a theological reflection process with faculty and staff of St. Richard’s. Progress would be evaluated in theological reflection with participants midway through the process, and again at the conclusion of the introductory period. The midprocess evaluation would function as a “mid-course correction” opportunity, measuring the comfort and satisfaction level of participants and incorporating their thoughts and suggestions. The concluding evaluation would focus on whether or not we had been successful in establishing a regular weekly intercessory prayer service that is satisfying to both the tradition of the Offices and the ecumenical background of the non-Catholic participants.