Worship that is grounded in caring with and for God’s creation differs from the more traditional (and contemporary) worship found in most Presbyterian congregations. We want to offer a spiritual response to our present ecological crisis, and we are intentional in making a connection between our human selves and the “luminous web” of creation of which we are very much a part. This is something we know in our heads from both science and our faith traditions—but maybenot so much in our hearts.
As Presbyterians, we share the common goal of caring for God’s Creation. Recycling, reduction in energy costs, and divesting from fossil fuels are part of our agenda. But, much of the time, our commitment is half-hearted. We need to experience a reconnection with Creation at a deep level. With this in mind, we design our worship and our work to help worshipers experience this reconnection—with God, with our selves, with one another, and with all creation—in our hearts andour heads.
Part of being a NWC is the freedom to experiment and we’ve tried many different things. As humans who are part of the Earth, our worship honors our unity with the entire community of life as we circle the sun at a particular moment in time—whether we are entering into the phase of springtime renewal, summer ripeness, autumn inwardness, or winter pregnancy.
For our liturgy, sometimes we write our own; more often we borrow and piece together from whatever source we find with good liturgy and spiritual practices. These days, there are many including:
Come and have Friday dinner with us! Third Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m.
Menu:Chicken Noodle Soup, Chili, Lentil Soup, Potato Soup—Bread—Dessert—Coffee, tea
Friday, November 16 at Plumsted Presbyterian Church, 14 Front St., New Egypt
Friday, December 21 at New Egypt United Methodist Church, 30 N. Main St., New Egypt
Meet your neighbors over a simple meal - Enjoy homemade soups and chili Experience extravagant hospitality
For more info call (609) 758-7237
What is stress? What happens to our bodies? Most importantly, what can we do about it? Come find out! We will talk about diet and lifestyle choices we can make to help ease stress.
Our guide, Laura Jacobs, is an herbalist, gardener and medicine maker. She studied at the Herbal Academy of New England, the St. Mark’s Women’s School of Herbology and Rutgers University. Laura is a member of American Herbalists Guild and the loving steward of a United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary, home to over 120 medicinal plant species, located in New Egypt, NJ
Sabbath House is located on the grounds of Plumsted Presbyterian Church 8 Front Street, New Egypt, NJ. For more info or to register please call (201) 910 7047 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations always welcome, but $30 fee is being waived for PC(USA) members.
Take time to connect with Earth’s sacred rhythms and immerse yourself in the wonder of God’s creation. Our day will include worship, meditation, conversation, music, and good good. We will close the day by celebrating the Eucharist. Weather permitting, we will spend some time outside.
In the Celtic year, Samhain celebrates a the end of the harvest in Gaelic culture. It is also a time when the veils between this world and the otherworld was believed to be at their thinnest and the spirit is of the dead could most readily mingle with the living once again. Christians adopted the festival and celebrated it as All Hallows’ Eve, followed by All Saints Day.
To register, please contact Rev. Phyllis Zoon at 201-910-7047 or email email@example.com
Roni Murray will guide us in learning to pray using scripture, not as a text to be studied but as the living Word of God. Join us as we share this ancient prayer form. Scripture will be read and pondered, and then we will share just what the sacred words spoke to our hearts.
Part of our Spiritual Exploration series
Worship celebrating end-of-harvest season with potluck dinner preceding Dream Workshop beginning at 7 p.m. All welcome whether or not you are attending the workshop.
The festival of Samhain (pronounced 'sow'inn' and the word for November in some Gaelic languages) is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the 'Celtic New Year'.
Samhain has been celebrated in Britain for centuries and has its origin in Pagan Celtic traditions. It was the time of year when the veils between this world and the Otherworld were believed to be at their thinnest: when the spirits of the dead could most readily mingle with the living once again. Later, when the festival was adopted by Christians, they celebrated it as All Hallows' Eve, followed by All Saints Day, though it still retained elements of remembering and honouring the dead.
We are called to work for a world where everyone has sufficient, healthy and culturally appropriate food! And where those who produce and prepare the food are fairly compensated, respected and celebrated!
The global Food Week of Action (October 15-22) is an opportunity for Christians and others around the world to act together for food justice and food sovereignty. It is a special time to raise awareness about approaches that help individuals and communities develop resiliency and combat poverty. Beyond examining our food choices, we must also recognize the lingering roots of racism embedded in our food system, which was founded on slavery and plantation agriculture, and still exploits the environment and workers in the food chain. We call for societal and policy changes that bring us closer to realizing the right to food for everyone and positive transformation of the dominant system.
The Food Week of Action includes World Food Day (October 16), International Day for Rural Women (October 15), and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17).
Join in the Food Week of Action and World Food Day with Solidarity Actions
I’m going to share something about Sabbath House: our mission; what’s already happened; and some of our plans, hopes, and dreams for the coming year.
First, our mission: Sabbath House, a center for sacred activism, is a diverse and welcoming community that brings spiritual practices together with actions that bring peace and hope into the world. And I’ll be saying more about the actions later.
How did we get here?
In January 2014, a group of members, elders, and pastors gathered to discern a possible mission and future use of the historic manse of Plumsted Presbyterian Church following the presbytery’s move from New Egypt to a virtual office.
Our group noted that we live in times of disruption and uncertainty, which has gotten worse, in which we must deal with multiple crises, including economic, environmental, and energy.
At the same time, we saw the potential for profound personal, societal and global renewal; and we believe this is the time to bring spiritual practices together with actions that bring peace and hope into the world.
In such a time as this, we feel called to respond to Jesus’ recommendation to be at work in the garden and in the fields when the Master arrives.
We act on all the gospel stories that feature Jesus celebrating or commemorating how faithful workers and servants join one another to care for the Earth and all its inhabitants, especially for “the least of these,” including our human neighbors, all living creatures, and the Earth.
Sabbath House and the Gardens at Plumsted provide space to go inward and outward, where people can engage with themselves and others in essential life-giving activities. It is a place where people gather to reconnect:
We’ve been registered as one of 1001 New Worshiping Communities and have been holding regular worship services to mark the seasonal passages of the calendar year since 2014.
We celebrate the changing of the seasons and the four Celtic cross-quarter days (using Christian liturgy). In fact, I went to a February 1 service which celebrated St. Brigid, bringer of light.
If you’re wondering, why a New Worshiping Community?
The New Worshiping Community at Sabbath House offers participants a distinctly unique worship experience centered around the Gardens and caring for this place. Worship that is grounded in caring with and for God’s creation differs significantly from more traditional worship activities, and we want to reach out to members of the local community who would not otherwise want to be part of a more traditional worshiping community.
Something new for us since 2016 is the developing relationship with Princeton Seminary. We teach them, and they teach us.
We’re able to offer a somewhat unique opportunity to see and work in many off-the-grid possibilities for ministry that includes: how to work faithfully with a small congregation; and how to think imaginatively about new activities and structures the church may discover each day. We’ve also been helped through our relationship with the Farminary at Princeton, where our interns have taken classes.
This year we received a Vitality Grant from Monmouth Presbytery and an Innovation Grant from the Synod of the Northeast.
These grants make it possible reach more people in the local community as well as the local and regional church through our outreach and programs.
What’s next at Sabbath House? Come and see!
In 2017 we’re offering a wide variety of programs and retreats that are listed in our handout. These include: two monthly series: Spiritual Exploration and Spiritual Activism/Social Justice, including our recent Conversations on Race; learning opportunities and activities in the garden; arts and craft making as another kind of spiritual activism; seasonal and other celebrations of our New Worshiping Community, including three more this year: Autumn Equinox, Hallowe’en/All Saints/All Souls, Winter Solstice/Blue Christmas; Overnight and Daytime Retreats including: an overnight retreat, Working With Our Dreams; a Clergy Rest Day, after stewardship and before Advent; and two Advent retreat days on Mary
I’m a certified chaplain, and part of our re-certification process is sharing what we have done in the past year and how we have grown. I was so proud to share about Sabbath House and its unique and diverse opportunities for being together with other people of faith, times of learning and being challenged, and time of sharing fellowship. Offering a discussion group on “Waking Up White” and a workshop on how to make soap speaks for itself on the breadth of opportunities!
We want to share Sabbath House. We are “off the beaten path” but closer than you think—and it’s REALLY NICE when you get here.
It’s a great place to hold a meeting, church officer training, small group retreat, or other event - or just get away to a beautiful, peaceful place. We do request donations, but we really want to have you visit so every congregation is invited with no donation request.
Finally, I’d like to share something more about the New Worshiping Community at Sabbath House.
About a year ago we gathered with the presbytery’s New Communities Working Group. The first meeting I came to, Wendy was there. She had wonderful comments and insights to share, so for me, Sabbath House has been an important part of her legacy.
For those who haven’t heard of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative, it’s a movement in the PC(USA) to do what the name says: begin 1001 New Worshiping Communities by 2022, using new and varied forms of church for our diverse and changing culture; and forming new disciples of Jesus, transforming our denomination, and impacting our world.
In our meetings with the New Communities Group, we: discussed the creation stories and various biblical farming stories to discern biblical experiences of worship; looked through the book Starting New Worshiping Communities; and enacted both new and familiar ways of worship.
After Wendy’s death, the New Communities Group finished its work with Sabbath House, and the Sabbath House group moved forward with further definition and application for a New Worshiping Communities Seed Grant.
I’m happy to tell you our Seed Grant proposal was approved, and we will receive $7,500 from the Office of Mission Program Grants that will help our ministry.
As a pastor, I would occasionally have Bring-a-Friend Sunday. And I suspected that most of these “friends” who were coming probably wouldn't back.
Since retiring, my friends are mostly “un-churched”. And as I look at the variety of events being held, I have already been inviting friends to them. And I think they may be back! I thought, “Hmmm--this is like Bring-a-Friend.” And doesn't that mean it's evangelism?
So please, go and tell: we have a 1-page handout with an overview of Sabbath House and a schedule of events for the remainder of 2017. Please share with your congregations.
First in a series of workshops on Spiritual Exploration, Introduction to Meditation on Thursday, October 12 at 7 will take some of the mystery out of this art. We will discuss the many types of meditation, as well as their origin. Mindfulness, silence and peacefulness will show you how to begin your own journey to meditation. Practical tips and techniques will get you started. Roni Murray will be our guide. Come any time after 6 to share some food and conversation.
Thursdays, October 12 and November 9, 7-8:30 p.m. Spiritual Exploration. This series of events on the second Tuesday of each month explores a variety of spiritual practices such as prayer, Sabbath keeping, and individual and group spiritual direction.