The Work of the People, Done Over Coffee: The Liturgy Collective

by Sharon Core

The Busboys and Poets Liturgical Collective takes the Presbyterian belief of connectionalism seriously!  One day, while meeting at Busboys and Poets (Shirlington; Arlington, VA), three Presbyterian ministers wondered why there weren’t more collaborative efforts among churches, especially when it came to planning worship.  These three ministers also acknowledged that as solo pastors, having others to meet and plan with would be a godsend!  The three congregations and their ministers were:  Arlington Presbyterian Church (Sharon Core), Church of the Covenant (Beth Goss) and Clarendon Presbyterian Church (David Ensign).

Working with Advent texts, the collective wrote liturgy that each congregation used during the four Sundays of Advent.  Each congregation took responsibility for a Sunday—choosing hymns, prayers, responsive readings and “practicing the faith” opportunities.  In addition to writing liturgy together, the three congregations shared preachers.  On the first and fourth Sundays of Advent, each minister was in her/his own pulpit and on the second and third Sundays preached in the other two pulpits.

The Collective expanded for Lent, inviting Fairlington Presbyterian Church (Leslianne Braunstein) and NEXT Church director Jessica Tate.  For the Lenten season, the collective is focusing on Lent as a journey as we follow the journey of Jesus.  Again, each congregation/person is taking responsibility for a Sunday, writing the liturgy that each church will share.  In addition to the Sundays of Lent, there are also cooperative efforts for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday worship.

Future plans include sharing worship during the summer—Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day.

Questions?   Contact any member of the collective:  Leslianne Braunstein ([email protected]), Sharon Core ([email protected]), David Ensign ([email protected]), Susan Graceson ([email protected]), Beth Goss ([email protected]), or Jessica Tate ([email protected]).

Sharon Core is pastor of Arlington Presbyterian Church.