Sharing of Joys & Sorrows
One of the most moving rituals within STC services is the part we call "Joys and Sorrows". It is where everyone is invited to come forward to light a candle in remembrance of a joy or concern. Initially it was done in silence, with each person who cared to, lighting a candle and quietly going back to their seat. Emotions ran high, and sometimes tears fell from the silent, but anguished eyes.
A visiting minister one asked us to speak our feelings, and it was as if a dam broke. The misery, pain and suffering were immense, but so was the joy. And so a new tradition was born. Now we sometimes complain about the soliloquies we get during Joys and Sorrows, but always the sharing is sincere and the support is real. It truly is the part of the service that speaks to the heart of STC.
Unique, Dynamic Worship
A Sunday Service at STC can be pagan, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sufi, Buddhist, or Marxist. It could include a litany of poems, a jazz creation, a rant, a polemic, a performance from a local school, a dance, or everyone just sitting around sewing dream pillows. On any given Sunday, the person in the pulpit can be a Christian minister, a S&M enthusiast, an elected official, a published author, a ministerial student or a local community activist. We have taken our services into the woods, on to the streets, inside a march for justice, and into a cathedral like sanctuary. Some services require attendees to jump the Beltane fire, travel from birth to life to death and back, or play hopscotch.
Unique, dynamic services are the hallmark of STC, it is also is our greatest challenge. How do you keep people used to innovation from getting bored!
I finally managed to push the boundaries further when in 98, I held the congregation in orgasmic awe during one of my Sacred Sexuality services. The fundamentalist Christians may have folks speaking in tongues, but only STC can get them to have orgasms during a service!