Update: Seder has been cancelled due to lack of interest. See comments for more info.
A few of us are inspired to co-ordinate a Seder meal for our whole community on Good Friday, April 2nd at about 6:00 p.m., a little over 2 weeks away. But, as you may know, VC has a very lean support staff and no financial resources to do such a thing at this time. So, to do it, we would need to know if the VC housechurches are interested enough in this to make specific contributions of money and energy (detailed below). We’re writing to give you a sense of what we’re envisioning and to get an Up or Down vote this week. We recognize this is a lot of detail all at once, but if this is going to happen, we need your housechurch to read these details and respond. So, check out the following rough plan and let Stephen JohnsonGrove know by Thursday 3/18 whether or not your housechurch is whole-heartedly on board and is able to contribute the specific things requested below. It’d be helpful if y’all caucused as a housechurch and came to some consensus and then just one spokesperson from each housechurch got back to Stephen, so he’s not getting mixed signals. If most or all say Yes, we’ll go for it. If not, no sweat—maybe we’ll try again next year (its sorta last minute, we realize). Here’s the scoop:
First, in case you were wondering, a Seder meal is a Jewish traditional celebration of Passover, a mixture of liturgy, worship, and eating. You can read more about a Christian version of this here.
Second, we’re envisioning housechurches spread out in circles on the floor of St. E’s on picnic blankets and old pillows/cushions. There’s a couple reasons for this. One, its fun and relaxed when you eat food sitting on the floor—that’s why kids do it all the time! Two, haven’t you read how Jesus “reclined at the table” with his disciples? Three, setting up housechurches in circles will create an ideal time for housechurches to extend hospitality to folks new to VC or just not connected to a housechurch yet. And it’ll be an ideal way for new folks to test out a housechurch—sharing a worshipful yet laid back meal. To create this vibe, each housechurch would need to bring:
- As many picnic blankets and old cushions/pillows as they may need for all their members plus two extra for any guests that might need a spot.
- Plates, cups, and flatware for yourselves and an extra set or two for guests.
- Two candles and a lighter or matches.
- simple sign with the name of your housechurch.
- Someone from your housechurch that can come 45 min. early to help set up the space (clear chairs, layout your blankets & whatnot).
We will also have a table or two set-up for folks that are not comfortable or able to sit on the floor.
During a seder meal, eating of special foods is interspersed with readings and prayers focused on the themes of Exodus, freedom, and deliverance. The liturgy will be printed out for everyone (its called a ‘haggadah‘). We think it’d work best for one team of people (please volunteer if you’re interested) to prepare all the special Seder foods for everyone. To make this work, we would need each housechurch to contribute $50-$75 (depending on the size of the housechurch) to purchase all the foods and copy the haggadah for everyone. NOTE: we’re keeping this non-alcoholic, so there will be grape juice, not wine.
After the liturgy concludes, we’ll keep eating—just in the form of one of our good ol’ potlucks (the Seder foods will be a good start but probably not enough to fill you up). So, we also need 1-2 people from each housechurch to bring a dish to share.
Finally, we’ll need some individuals to sign up to be on the clean-up crew.
So, that’s the idea. As you see, we’re asking a fair amount of each housechurch, so we want to make clear we’re offering this as an option. If it feels like too much to take on or your housechurch just isn’t all that into it, that’s cool—no one will be offended, we promise. But if you’re all in, that’s great. Either way, let Stephen (firstname.lastname@example.org) know by this Thursday, March 18. Also, if you individually would like to be on the team of people preparing the Seder foods for everyone or on the clean-up crew, please let Stephen know as well.
P.S. I just realized I said nothing about kids. They are not only welcome, they are an essential part of any good seder meal. The Jews take seriously the several times God commands them, “And you shall tell your children how I delivered you…” So, yes, bring your kids!
Thanks and peace,
Bethany Rogers (worship co-ordinator), Joshua Hanauer (outreach pastor), & Stephen JohnsonGrove (rabble-rouser)