Sacred Space: A Feast for the Soul

From DCC’s Session

What is Sacred Space?

Sacred Space is a contemplative worship space that will be offered once a month at 9 a.m. in the sanctuary sometime in the fall. The service seeks to enrich our worship experience and expand our outreach to meet the spiritual needs of those who consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.” We seek to create a more contemplative worship experience that focuses on integrating ancient and contemporary spiritual practices from diverse traditions that appeal to the senses, silence, meditation, and ritual embodiment. 

How is Sacred Space different from our current service? 

Sacred Space is much more of an open, meditative space that invites the community to engage in spiritual practices as they feel led. This emphasis has similarities to more traditional expressions of corporate contemplation, e.g. Taize. Preaching, hymns, and traditional order of worship will be offered at all the other services.

Sample Structure of Sacred Space

Here is an example of the type of invitations you may find at Sacred Space:

9:00 – 9:45am

Option 1: Lectio Divina (6-8 verses of scriptures OR modern reading)

Lectio divina invites us into God’s presence to listen for a particular, loving word to me at this particular moment in time. It is rooted in trust that the Spirit inspires us with God’s particular word to us when we pray and listen.

SETTLE. Quiet preparation of the heart. Notice your breath. Breathe in peace, and release the chaos and noise in your mind to God.

READ the scripture passage slowly. Notice and linger over a word or phrase that catches your attention. Stop and attend to what God may be saying to you. 

SAVOR the word or phrase as you read the text. What images, feelings, memories, smells, sounds, tastes, sights are brought to mind by this word or phrase? You can draw, write, or pray in color as you feel led.

Enter into dialogue with God. There is no right way to do this. What feelings has the text aroused in you? Where do you feel resistant?

Talk to God about these feelings.

REST in God. Allow some time for the word/colors to sink into your soul. Take God’s words with you throughout the day/week.

Option 2: Visio Divina 

Watch a video of ocean waves. What stirs for you as you watch the waves? Nothing needs to happen here. You may simply use this time to stay with your breath and gaze at the waves. Rest here for a while and settle a little deeper. Listen and lean into the process with openness and curiosity. 

What might God be saying to you today? Is there an invitation? If so, what might your response be? 

Use the next few minutes to offer a prayer of response, either silently or by journaling.

When you are finished, simply rest in God’s presence and in the quiet. 

9:45 – 9:55 Closing Ritual & Blessing

For those who would find it meaningful to connect deeper with a spiritual director or someone who is trained to listen and hold space, there will be an opportunity to do so after the service.

Why do we need Sacred Space?

Davis Community Church desires to embrace diversity as God’s dream for the world and draw more people into a sense of authentic belonging and active participation through a myriad of pathways to community. We wish to ensure that every person can find their place among an ever-expanding circle of companions and friends (Vision 2028). We believe that Sacred Space is an expression of Christ’s incarnation–meeting people where they are and cultivating radical hospitality, belonging, and sacred encounter for anyone without imposing a high bar of religiosity. We also believe that embracing God’s dream for diversity includes diversifying and enriching our own worship experience as well as taking note of who is missing at the table.

Who is missing at the table?

We state in our Vision 2028 document, “We will increase our diversityrace, ethnicity, age, gender-identity, socio-economic status, and morein order to more fully represent our state, nation, and world.” Our congregational report statistics show that our church skews racially white with most of the membership being people over 65. This aligns with trends of church membership across the nation in mainline denominations. Recognizing this trend as well as the steady decline in church membership among millennials and Generation Z, we need to become clear about the kind of faith community that we wish to create in the coming years. If our goal is to stay the same, then there is no need to do anything different. If we wish to change, then it is important to listen to those who are missing at the table to learn how our community can better live into our vision and values.

In March 2021, a group of 25 leaders participated in a six-week training with Crossroads Antiracism Training and Organizing. One of the recommendations that the leadership cohort made after the training was that we reflect on the historical and cultural legacies of European Catholic and Protestant Reformation that shape our current worship and find ways to become more expansive and inclusive in an ever-expanding circle of companions and friends in a globalized world. 

As a result, in April and May 2021, Pastor Eunbee began asking for feedback from our young adults about worship. She asked questions, such as, “Is worship important to you?” “What kind of a worship space would increase your engagement and sense of belonging at DCC? What kind of worship would you like to co-create with us?” “Is there a better time to offer the service than our current offerings?” 

Highlights from Feedback

  • Many of the young adults carry religious trauma from their evangelical/conservative faith backgrounds. They are drawn to DCC’s more progressive and inclusive faith and are curious to learn theologies that reflect diverse, intercultural perspectives and global expressions of faith.
  • Our young adults vary in their preference for music styles, but they all agree on desiring more contemplative practices, such as instrumental music, guided meditation, breath work, journaling, or some participatory practice that doesn’t involve lyrics (specifically religious language that they no longer find meaningful.) They also wanted more music from non-European cultures and revised, contemporary hymns that might better align with values of inclusion, justice, and intercultural awareness. 
  • They asked the question, “What is worship?” Pastor Eunbee’s understands worship as a practice of constructing sacred meaning out of our diverse histories, spiritual heritage, and collective commitments. Recognizing worship as a communal process of meaning-making from an antiracist approach is to approach worship as a collaborative endeavor with an attitude of abundance, expansiveness, and increased accessibility with special attention to marginalized voices within our community.
  • When asked whether worship was important to them, most of our young adults answered that worship was important to them. However, worship in its current form at DCC, often presented barriers to for authentic participation and belonging.
  • When asked if there was a better day and time for a worship service, our young adults answered that Sunday morning was the best as opposed to an afternoon or evening service that interfered with children’s nap times or night routines. Weekdays were too busy for them.

Noting the feedback from the Antiracism Leadership Cohort and our young adults, Pastors Chris and Eunbee called a worship collaboration planning meeting in October 2021 with 9 DCCers: Jim Goss, Barbara Green, Joe Yun, Charlotte Zhang, Janay Garrick, Dian Vorters, and Emma Turnbull. From this gathering, we received reverberating feedback about a longing for worship to make space for younger people’s voices, to better engage all the senses, and a desire for more spaces of silence, contemplation, and spiritual practices. 

Many others at DCC have expressed that this contemplative space would help them participate in worship again. One person felt excited that they could invite their family to Sacred Space since their adult children were really turned off by some aspects of Christianity. Sacred Space, however, felt like it could be a wide enough, welcoming space for them. Another person said a quiet, meditative space was so hard to come by for working parents. They would appreciate a grounding, contemplative experience that can be especially powerful in the context of community. As someone who never felt at home with the languages, images, and music styles of mainline Protestant Christianity, this gathering may offer a place where they can feel most authentically connected with the sacred. One of the young adults, who is deeply involved at DCC but ambivalent about the Christianity they grew up with, said that hearing the Tibetan bowl preceded by silence was the most meaningful moment for them during Sunday worship where no one was telling them what to say, sing, or believe. 

These comments echo a current trend that many people are restless and dissatisfied with church as they have experienced it. Many experience a spiritual hunger that cannot be filled by traditional religion, which is why so many align themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” As people gravitate toward spiritual nurture and grounding in communities that cultivate values of sacred purpose and transformation, faithful Christians are called to respond to this hunger with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love. 

While the vision for Sacred Space initially arose out of the needs of our young adults, the feedback that we received over the last year and a half is that these interests are shared across the age spectrum. We hope that Sacred Space will enrich the faith experience of all of our DCC family and provide a more inclusive pathway to community that meets the spiritual needs of our time.

The antiracist values that undergirded this decision to launch Sacred Space were both/and thinking, abundance, collaboration, cooperation, and transparency. In this spirit, we are sharing with the congregation how the idea of this service came to be, and we will ask for your constructive feedback after the service when Sacred Space takes place once a month at 9 a.m. in the sanctuary sometime in the fall. We will announce the details of the feedback process when we have a better idea of the Interim Pastor’s arrival.

Where will the people go if they don’t want to attend Sacred Space at 9 a.m.

Given that we have an average attendance of 30 people in the 9 a.m. service, we expect to have plenty of space at the 10:30 a.m. service to accommodate everyone. If the 10:30 a.m. time is a barrier for people, our YouTube service is available for viewing at any time.

Who will be planning this service?

The people who have expressed interest in being part of the planning team are Pastor Eunbee, Elizabeth Fulmer, Joe Yun, Allyson Oide, Emily March, and Emily Henderson. We eventually hope to expand this planning team and draw on the leadership and participation of the greater community. Please contact Pastor Eunbee if you would like to offer your gifts for this service.

What is the mask requirement for this service?

Because many of leaders of this service care for vulnerable populations, masks will be required for this service. Persons with medical conditions/disabilities may request exemptions with Pastor Eunbee at eunbee@dccpres.org.

Will Sacred Space be live-streamed?

Currently, we do not have volunteers who can livestream the 9 a.m. service or coordinate a hybrid Zoom option, but we may be able to consider these possibilities when we have volunteers who are willing to do this work.

Looking Forward

We look forward to your participation in Sacred Space in the fall and that you will spread the word beyond our community. We pray that this innovative space will chart a pathway into the future of Christianity–embodied and incarnational, post-doctrinal, inclusive, experiential, artistic, and sacramental–a site for sacred encounter and creative communion in a fractured and frenzied world.

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search