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Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Message

August 2008

MOVED BY CONFESSION?

During the first week of July, your pastors took their boys to the Montreat Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center in Montreat, North Carolina.  While the boys set off for camp every day, your pastors spent the week attending a continuing education event called “Church Unbound.”  It was an amazing experience to listen to some extremely talented individuals issue a challenge to pastors and church leaders to spend some time thinking about ways that the church is bound up.

While the Bible Study, lectures, small groups and breakout sessions were informative and thought provoking; it was the worship that we found the most delightful, especially the time of confession.  Now we confess, that it is perhaps unusual to think that the time of confession could be so powerful and interesting and moving.  After all, confession is one of the hardest things that we do.  If we’re honest, most of us would admit that it is difficult to say that we are sorry and over the years we have found that pastors often get the most complaints about including the time of confession in worship.  Over the years some of the complaints that we have heard include: the unison prayer of confession is not applicable to everyone and we don’t like it because it makes us feel bad to list all the things we do wrong.

While we have listened over the years to all the concerns that people have shared about the time of confession, your pastors have always felt that it is important to include this time in our weekly worship.  We believe it is vital as people of faith for us to remember our need for God.  Confession and pardon are also a profound experience of healing; as we turn to God, unburden our hearts, and receive an assurance of pardon. Confession goes hand in hand with a reminder of God’s love, grace and forgiveness. Some of the most powerful experiences of faith in our lives have been centered around the reminder of God’s amazing grace and how unworthy we are to receive it. Confession is also a time of accepting peace from God and reuniting not only with God, but with one another as we share that peace with each other, which is the very reason why the passing of the peace follows our time of confession. 

While we still affirm all those beliefs in confession and pardon, what was so powerful about the time of confession in Montreat was the creative way they enacted the time of confession. The experience was a little different at each service but there was always a sense of drama as a black cloth was draped over people or items as the congregation participated in the prayer by sharing thoughts about things that separated us from God. When the time of prayer was over, the cloth was slowly removed as words of assurance were spoken.  In all our years in the church, we have never seen this collaboration of drama, movement, visualization and congregational participation enacted during a time of confession. It was truly something to behold and we were blessed by the experience, even as we were challenged to consider our own time of confession.  

We invite you to consider the power of confession with us!

 

Rev. Laurie & Rev. Leonard