I brought some of the Yes And Puppets and about a thousand Milagro Pins to the Super Saturday UCC congregational programming enrichment event. I've been active in the UCC for most of my life (this is my 5th decade for those keeping score at home) and so I've been to tens of these kinds of events. I've taken workshops and led them, and many times I've set up a table in a marketplace to promote something or other. While I've had great experiences of worship and been moved and educated in workshops, I think some of my best experiences happen in the marketplace. Today was no exception. I met a number of folks and had conversations about ideas and swapped philosophies on engaging in vital ministry in our time.
I came away from the event with work to do. Churches are interested in The Milagro Project. They want me to finish my information packets so they can receive them and implement them in their churches. It helped enormously to know that if I build it they will indeed come!
I also came away thinking about what it is about the Marketplace that makes it such a vital place. Jesus famously overturned booths in the marketplace at the Temple because he felt the merchants were commercializing religion. I don't feel that is what happens in the marketplace at church events nowadays. The marketplace is mostly a marketplace of ideas. We're real and we're open in the marketplace--open to ideas, open to possibilities, and most importantly, open to connecting with one another and sharing our vulnerabilities--our hopes, our dreams, our fears.
The Church of Yes And is the church of the marketplace. Right now it exists mainly as a concept, the idea that we in the church need to be more open to the ideas of those in our communities and to fresh winds of the spirit in general. How can we use the experience of the marketplace to bring new life to our congregations, and to form new, vital congregations that will take our time-tested faith into the future?