We experienced  our first Church Without Walls (CWOW, we called it) last Sunday. Here’s what it looked like (thanks to April Kennedy and her assistant Alden for the excellent pics!).

The idea was simple: every Sunday of the year we gather to worship, which includes someone talking about what we believe. What would happen if one Sunday instead of worshiping, we went out into our neighborhood and demonstrated what we believe by serving others? We would be a church scattered, a church that had left the building, a church without walls.

Our memory verse for the week is Luke’s version of the Golden Rule:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Luke 6:31

So last Sunday we dressed in work clothes and came together at 9:00 AM for bagels, muffins, coffee and juice. After we sang, prayed and listened to a brief word for the day, we took to the streets. The plan was to have several teams serving in different ways: painting storefronts along the Brookland Park Boulevard commercial corridor, picking up trash in the neighborhood, building A-frame advertising signs for the merchants, tending the community garden, praying for our neighbors, etc.

August in Richmond is always brutally hot and humid—except for the day we planned to be the church without walls. At 9:00 AM it was 66 and raining. We were not able to paint, but everything else continued as planned. Actually, cooler and wetter than planned.

One of our members summed up the day this way: “I don’t feel like I’ve been to church; this morning I’ve been the church!”

A group of folks spent the morning in the soggy community garden, weeding and planting fall crops. I was at Embrace Richmond for Thursday prayers and heard our neighbor, Richard LeTang, who leads the community garden, say, “When I saw the weather on Sunday, I just knew they would cancel the plan to work in the garden. Monday morning when I saw what those people accomplished on Sunday, my spirit was lifted and my heart was full of praise! They really did a lot of work!”

Lifting spirits and filling hearts with praise was what CWOW was all about.

I’m pretty sure we established a tradition.

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