LSTC Invites Students and Community Members to Dinner Church Event on September 19

Folks with nametags sit in groups for dinner

LSTC is pleased to invite students and community members for a transformative day of exploration and experiential learning at a one-day workshop for seminarians and local ministry teams seeking innovative approaches to worship and community formation. Our event, inspired by St. Lydia’s, a dinner church in Brooklyn, NY, puts into practice a unique blend of ancient and future forms of community worship. The event will be led by the Rev. Dr. Christian Scharen of St. Lydia’s. Dr. Scharen is an affiliated faculty member at LSTC who will be teaching courses in liturgy in academic year 2023-2024. He is an ELCA pastor and theologian known for his work on liturgy, practical theology, and theological ethnography.

The day will begin at 10 am with a two-hour session where participants can experience St. Lydia’s unique song and song leadership style, integral to their liturgy. This morning session will be co-directed by Charles Murphy, who is on staff at First Presbyterian Church of Libertyville. Murphy is an Alabama-born, Chicago-based musician and songwriter working in and out of churches, community groups, kids theatres, and just about any other space where people want to gather and make music together. He believes that everyone’s first language is music, and loves finding ways of helping people find their voice and sing in community with each other.

Following a break for lunch (on your own), our workshop resumes at 1 pm, delving deeper into the tenets of dinner church, which will proceed until 5 pm. After an hour of transition, we conclude our day with dinner church from 6-8 pm. From welcoming attendees at the door to preparing food, singing, praying, and cleaning up, everyone has a role, affirming that everyone’s gifts are welcomed and needed in our community and our world.

This event is an immersion into an action/reflection pedagogy that challenges traditional structures and assumptions in religious practice. Participants will grapple with complex issues around mission, contemporary culture, beauty, and justice, while exploring strategies to dismantle systemic biases and the legacy of empire in the church.

This event, open to all members of the LSTC community, is about practicing faith together, recognizing the inherent value of every participant, and creating a space where all stories can be shared. Instead of promoting an exclusive orthodoxy (“right belief”), we seek a shared orthopraxy or “right living,” where practices evolve along with the community’s growth.

This workshop will offer participants a new perspective on communal worship, demonstrating how dinner church can dispel isolation, reconnect neighbors, and subvert the status quo. It’s not about fixing people but about letting their gifts shine, restoring agency, and fostering a space where everyone is valued, heard, and very welcome.

Please join us! Register below.

Date: Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Time: 10:00am-8:00pm

Cost for students: $20

Cost for community members: $50


Augustana Church

5500 S. Woodlawn Ave

Chicago, IL 60637

For further information please contact Pastor to the Community Erik Christensen at erik.christensen@lstc.edu

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