The Agape Ministry is a Wednesday evening meeting featuring fellowship, simple singing, and contemplative prayer. On the first Wednesday of the month, join us at 6:30 pm as we celebrate feast days with a service of communion and a pot luck dinner. All other Wednesdays, join us for services at 7:15 pm.
The Wednesday night Agapé service is formal and flexible, casual and earnest, intimate but welcoming to all. There is room and invitation both for active and vocal participation as well as active and silent contemplation. We make room for periods of silence and seek to lift our spirits “where we may be still and know that you are God (Book of Common Prayer, p. 832).”
On a practical level, the typical Wednesday prayer service usually follows a printed order of worship, usually from the Book of Common Prayer. The leader proclaims much of the service as printed, and the people are invited to respond with the portions printed in bold. Most of the service follows the given structure, but there are also times of spontaneity and openness, most especially the time for personal prayers. Everyone prays differently, there’s no one right way to do it, whether you address God directly or present a general need or concern before the group. There is an invitation but not a universal expectation to share, though there is an expectation of solidarity and fellowship with one another in affirming all prayers. One way that the group affirms one another is with the conclusion of each prayer with the response, “Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.”
Singing as prayer
The leader will designate times for singing, based on the order of worship or based on inspiration. The Agapé service relies primarily on simple songs from the Taizé community, which are sung repetitively in a prayerful, meditative way. A single voice sings the tune once through for the group, then everyone joins in the second time through. The song will repeat at least three times, with the last time through being noticeably slower. Occasionally, one or more members remain uncertain about the conclusion of a song – if one voice continues to another repetition, everyone else joins in; as with the rest of the service, we are more concerned about having an authentic offering and don’t expect everyone to be precise or perfect. We affirm that God welcomes the praise and worship of joyful voices, even those who are out of tune or don’t end together!
Who shows up
We gather weekly from various walks of life but we all share the desire to walk in love as Christ loved us. This gathering is an act of seeking this love, of nourishing and affirming one another in the joys and sorrows of our particular journeys, of admitting where we fall short and celebrating where we have grown. Yet this gathering is not the exclusive place and time where we act out our faith – it is a reminder and sign of our common life, one piece of how we are fed. We invite and encourage all – long-time members and newcomers alike – to come as you are. We affirm that the presence of each person is a gift, and that no special knowledge or pedigree is required, for the desire of each to be present to one another and to God is enough.