Interface Worship is a multi-year program that is developing ecumenical, alternative worship services as an effective means of spiritual formation, enhancing community, and empowering mission for Edmonton area Christians. Participants spiritual and worship experiences are enriched and enhanced through the conscientious application of spiritual theology to whole person worship that is framed by liturgical considerations, centered on profound biblical themes, and encourages the use of spiritual formation processes. A partial description my (Jim Robertson’s) theology of worship for Interface Worship is here (patience please – large pdf).
Spiritual theology and whole person worship are both key to Interface Worship. We consider spiritual theology to be ‘an engaging in a dynamic congruence between spirituality (how we live with God), and theology (how we think about God’). This engaging is commonly taught through the cognitive (theologically oriented) processes. We seek to bring about this engaging through experiential worship (spiritually oriented processes) as a counterbalance, and perhaps for some, a whole new way of encountering the gospel. Interface Worship recognizes and utilizes at least twenty-three points through which God and humans interface with each other, and uses these in whole person worship as intrinsic to spiritual formation and an applied understanding of the Christian gospel. Hence the name.
Depth will be further enhanced by drawing on the rich variety of God’s provision as revealed by the church calendar; the story of God and his people as told in both testaments; the crafting of new rituals, symbols and imagery; and employing ancient spiritual formation techniques, which are sometimes modified for corporate worship.
Ten streams or series of worship services or worship based formation exercises are in various stages of development that use Interface Worship principles in varying degrees. Below is a brief description of the ten streams. A listing of Interface Worship techniques and principles can be found here.
Throne Room Worship is a series of celebratory services being developed to mark major points in the church year. These services include the extensive use of ritual, symbols and imagery of a unique but enduring quality and significance so that the services can be repeated annually. St. Paul’s Anglican of Edmonton, Alberta is the host congregation. Liturgies for The Reign of Christ the King, Epiphany, Holy Saturday and Ascentecost (between Ascension and Pentecost) have been crafted to date.
Altarwalk* (Take Up Your Cross)
Altarwalk is a spiritual formation exercise made of nine prayer stations and connecting fabrics. The room-sized liturgical sculpture creates a schematic frame through which participants explore what it means ‘to take up ones cross and follow Jesus.’ The Altarwalk process reflects some aspects of the ancient Christian devotional exercises of pilgrimage, labyrinth, Stations of the Cross and Veneration of the Cross. Altarwalk can be done as a standalone exercise, or incorporated into a larger service as prayer stations.
Altarwalk II (Incarnational Living)
A second Altarwalk exercise is now being developed exploring Incarnational Living. Initial concepts were used at Epiphany 2007. Altarwalk II Incarnation will be available as a stand- alone exercise in 2010. The motif is essentially the same as Altarwalk, and this exercise can also be used as a component of a larger exercise.
Bowlerama (working title)
Bowlerama is an exploration Christian meditation using prayer bowls as ‘tactile mantras’. Bowlerama has been used as a standalone exercise, and also has been incorporated into other worship events or exercises such as Altarwalk or Throne room.
1/2 Speed is a creative worship retreat hosted at King’s Fold Retreat and Renewal Centre that Interface Worship was heavily involved in the creation and implementation of. The first one occurred in June, 2010, and second is being planned for 2011. At 1/2 Speed we dwell at the juncture of liturgy, contemplation, art, philosophy and theology in community for five days. Presenters in 2010 included Mark Pierson, David Williams, Chad Sundin, Jodi Penner, Myron Penner, Richard Webb and others.
Deus Nobis (God is with us) is a spiritual vision quest for churches or ministry groups. As the newest project, it is in very early stages of development and a ‘beta tester’ partner in the Edmonton area is being sought. If this sparks some interest, contact Jim at 780.437.0062 (evenings), or at interfaceworship[at]gmail.com.
Theolojazz is an exploration Bonheoffer’s ‘religionless Christianity’ through public gatherings with overt spirituality and public discussion about the place and meaning of God and human relationships in our lives, but with an express mandate to avoid both debate (in the classic win/lose sense) and proselytising. The setting is deliberately secular, ideally a place such as a pub. One event featuring Peter Rollins and the Elphida Trio was held in 2009 with great success. Peter and the band provided patrons an alternating feast of parables and jazz. Good friends, good food, good drink, good music and an outlaw preacher… my ideal of an attractional church! Partners and sponsoring agencies are being sought for future events.
Pilgrims’ Way Series
Pilgrims’ Way will be a shared-journey series of services that reflect aspects of a pilgrimage to Zion as a metaphor of the spiritual life. Psalm 84 is the inspiration. They will be designed for small group, have interactive, facilitated teaching, worship components that draw on simple liturgical patterns, and utilize meditative spiritual disciplines. It is expected the series would occur over twelve to sixteen weeks with three to four services for each of four themes.
Area 51 is the working title for a top-secret project. The only thing we that will be said here is that we are aiming for a fall 2011 launch.
Friday Night Lenten Services
These services were held on Friday nights at St. Paul’s Anglican, Edmonton, during Lent of 2005 and 2006. Altarwalk was used as a foundational piece for a group examination of Christ’s cross experience, and how the elements of that could be applied in discerning our own cross-bearing. A theme per week was considered through a blend of liturgy, meditations, shared art and poetry with integrated ritual, and personal testimony. The themes reviewed were: suffering, trust, integrity, courage, self-relinquishment and redeeming acts. The service format is now temporarily retired to allow freshening and the development of new service series.
*Altarwalk (the word) copyright 2004 James A. Robertson, trademark pending
**Theolojazz (the word) copyright 2008 James A. Robertson, trademark pending