A new kind of worship arrives in Edmonds

By Kate Agbayani | Jun 06, 2019

Edmonds United Methodist Church will welcome a new kind of worship at its church 7 p.m. Sunday, June 9.

“Foundry” will focus on ancient forms of worship, progressive theology, and a creative contemporary aesthetic centered on a practice-based approach to faith and spirituality.

David Hendrix, director of arts and worship, founded the service along with the church’s lead pastor, Sandy Brown. They wanted a service that would be different and interesting to a new group of people. They want Foundry to be accessible for everyone, including millennials and young professionals.

“It will be a real learning experience for all of us, but I think it can be really transformative for a lot of people,” said Hendrix. “It will be really powerful to do that in a community setting with each other and putting these things into practice.”

Hendrix began thinking of Foundry after having conversations with those who aren’t as connected to a conventional form of Sunday service. After these conversations, he felt the need to make services less of a lecture-style model and more interactive.

The development of the new kind of worship didn’t just come out of nowhere. The church has done a similar format to Foundry in the past.

Jessica Pair, coordinator of media and information for the church, experienced the new kind of worship during Lent, where the service consisted of reflection and prayer based on the context in which they were presented.

“It was extremely grounding for me to sit through a question and meditate on it,” said Pair. “It was a time and space to ground yourself in something simple.”

Brown and Hendrix went through different versions of what the new kind of worship would offer but, in the end, settled on a different service centered on spiritual practices.

The name “Foundry” has multiple meanings. Foundry is a workshop or factory that does metal castings. Foundry is also the name of the first Methodist church, named after John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist church.

“It’s the idea of taking raw materials and refining them to make something new,” Hendrix said. “I want people to be transformed.”

Ancient formats of worship

There are varying practices in other traditions and churches. Hendrix implemented these into Foundry’s liturgy. While there are formal traditions such as union and prayers of the people, Foundry will also include contemplation and meditation.

Gaining influence from Examen and Davina, types of worship that involve reflection, meditation, and prayer, Foundry will focus on new-age spirituality.

Foundry will center its service in prayer, formalizing the idea of mediation and doing these practices at a regular basis.

Centering prayer and spiritual exercise

Because Foundry will focus on prayer and reflection, participants will practice centering prayer in their worship. They will be presented with an image or passage to reflect on.

After personal prayers, the goal is for them to look back at the image or passage presented and further meditate on new feelings and thoughts.

Different spiritual exercises will be presented every new worship service. These exercises will include different types of prayer, such as centering prayer, mediation, or contemplative prayer. Spiritual exercises will also touch on broader topics like forgiveness, gratitude, and relationships.

These exercises can help people use what they have learned in their everyday lives.

Creative contemporary aesthetic

While traditional organ music will be played during services, Foundry wants to pull music from different traditions and be musically diverse. This allows for various types of music to be played during service. Foundry will also invite different guest speakers from other traditions to speak in services, allowing members to learn new types of practice.

Hendrix said Foundry is for those reexamining their faith and looking at things with new eyes, allowing them not to feel stuck on ideas that aren’t usually questioned.

He hopes people in the community will come and try it.

“There’s tremendous value in trying to reach out to people in a different community,” Hendrix said. “Spend a few weeks trying it out with us, because I think it’ll be very special.”

Foundry plans to invite author and musician Aaron Niequist to speak and present June 23 as a part of inviting others from different traditions.

Foundry will hold services every Sunday at 7 p.m.

 

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