This year, at the Presbyterian General Assembly, LGBTQ people & allies of the upcoming generation will claim their birthright at members of a just & inclusive church.

26 June 2008

Glimpses of the New Church Revolution: Techno Evening Prayer

Glimpses of the New Church Revolution: Techno Evening Prayer
By Le Anne Clausen

An abandoned parking lot sits in the midst of the city, not far from the glitz of convention centers and high-rise hotels. Strains of Moby and a thumping beat lead people into this space off the beaten path. Sidewalk chalk marks out a labyrinth to one side, and young adults walk along its paths thoughtfully. There's an RV, and undulating images to accompany the music are projected against the large white walls of the vehicle. Nearby, there's a table with cookies and a cooler full of water to revive tired worshippers. Dozens of tea lights flicker and form paths in the darkness.

Welcome to Techno Evening Prayer, held nearly every evening during the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA). Members of the New Church (R)evolution create the alternative worship space each evening, after the fervor of the Assembly proceedings.

In a quiet corner, a rug and pillows allow people to pray quietly alone or with a prayer leader. In the center, people are dancing, wearing and waving glow sticks. Others are playing with beach-balls. Still others are painting designs on each others' faces. The music is lowered for opening and closing prayer and words of welcome.

Here twenty to thirty young adults, and often members of older generations gather to dance, sing, pray, hug, cry, shout and laugh with one another. There's something for everyone, and leaders and participants alike actively seek to make everyone feel welcome.

Sure, it's advertised as the 'church of the future,' but what does this have to do with full inclusion of LGBTQ members of the church? For some, it is simply a safe place to express identity and practice acceptance of themselves and others as they are created. For others, the variety of activities available as forms of prayer and worship illustrate the many kinds of people that are in our churches and how worship and prayer in community need to be made available and accessible to all.

Last night, after an anti-gay hate group accosted members of the Assembly, worship participants drew out in sidewalk chalk all the meanings they could think of for love. The parking lot was filled with handwriting and some profound thoughts, from 'Love doesn't endure abuse' to 'Love is Radical' to '[Love] is always enough.' Techno Evening Prayer will continue to be held each night at 11:30 just off the Parkside Walkway between the San Jose Civic Center and the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

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