What's in Your Experimentation Wallet, ah Church

Pastor Christian Holleck recently sent me this letter.  He and his wife Tiffany are co-pastors at St. Peter's in Harwich, MA

October, 14, 2014

Dear Bishop Hazelwood,

I watched and listened to your encouraging and timely video message on being a synod of experimentation.  It struck a chord with me; that is, it is helping me make sense of some of the ministry we have been recently been engaged at here at St. Peter’s. 

  • We have been experimenting with art in worship, at one time having a potter set up his wheel in the back of the sanctuary during worship, having artists in the congregation paint during worship on a Pentecost Sunday.  More recently these artists have painted the Stations of the Cross which we hung up in the sanctuary during Holy Week.  We now have an Art Ministry Team and have rented exhibits which are displayed in the sanctuary (We’ve had Otto Dix lithographs depicting Matthew’s gospel and now “From Eden to Eternity,” colorful molas from the San Blas Islands.)  We also have a room dedicated as an Arts and Craft studio we hope to develop further. 
  • Our Reconciling in Christ Team hosted an interdenominational clergy panel discussion with clergy who self-identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender and represent five different denominations.
  • We had a group of nine go to Iona, Scotland for a week to live in Christian community and worship daily in the 13th century Benedictine Abbey.
  • We are re-starting a youth group using an intergenerational approach which includes inviting older adults in the church to be involved in hosting some of our gatherings. 
  • We have collaborated with Tree of Life to host a Humanitarian Benefit Concert for Gaza.  


Some of this experimentation has been unintentional – it just happened- and some has been intentional.  Some has been received with tremendous joy, some has been more controversial.  Some has focused on the spiritual growth of members and some on the needs of the community or world.  

Tonight at church council we will share your video presentation, I will share my reflections (i.e. this letter)  and we will have conversation about what it might mean to more deliberately embrace our Synod’s resolution (both communicating and implementing.) 

For now, I want you to know we are listening and experimenting (so is Pope Francis-wow!)   Thank you for the encouragement to engage in “graceful experimentation, innovation and creativity to further the mission to which God in Christ has called us.”