At Hosanna Lutheran Church, Edmonton, AB, during the season of Lent it has been the practise to hold Wednesday night worship services. Nothing terribly innovative about that, right? Well, in 2002, one little idea added a lot to these services. The idea was that each night one person would share their faith story as a homily for those gathered.
Holden Evening Prayer which included a reading from the Gospels
Congregants volunteered to present their stories (or as one presenter put it: "Faith Journey, because stories have endings"). Our council chairperson was first to volunteer; other people were approached and encouraged by the pastors. In doing so, care was taken to have representation from many different demographics within our congregation.
In the end we had five volunteers:
- an active member of our seniors group who has been a Lutheran for 50+ years and is a long time member
- a middle–aged widow who has been a member of the United and Christian Missionary Alliance Churches before "coming home" to this congregation
- a young–adult who first made contact with Christians through the Lutheran Campus ministry at the University of Alberta, was invited by one of his friends to come to church with him, was recently baptized as an adult and has become an active member
- the congregational chairperson, who grew up in the times just prior to the merger which created this congregation
- a senior–youth who is very active in leading Sunday School but faced some major faith–hurdles in recent years
Overall, this experiment seems to have been a great success. Those who shared their faith felt the reward of responding to what they identified as a call; attendance increased much over other years as people were interested to hear their peers; and those who did attend found the worship to be calming and heartening.