In the summer of 1994, the Rev. Debbie Little began meeting with homeless people on the streets of Boston, and soon garnered a dear fellowship of friends, both housed and un-housed. Reverend Little began simply by handing out sandwiches and building friendships with some homeless folks in Boston. As her friendships grew, so too did their desire to worship together. And now, about 17 years since Reverend Little began handing out food and drink to her friends, a lively congregation meets in Boston Common every Sunday to eat together, physically and spiritually.
So that’s the quick and dirty story of Ecclesia Ministries’ Common Cathedral, an outdoor Church that worships together every single Sunday, through rain, sleet, and snow. But not Katie and me…
We ventured to Boston Common on Sunday; but what started out in the morning as a light drizzle quickly turned into a strong downpour. Nothing serious, mind you (not a storm, and nothing at all to be scared about), but enough to keep us adequately wet even before we located the worshipping Church (see picture below). So, as the rain continued to come down, Katie and I ducked into a California Pizza Kitchen – for rest and nourishment ;)
I’m amazed when I think of Common Cathedral. The service is not something done to or for the homeless, but a worship service attended with them. Housed and un-housed Christians come together to share food, study Scripture, take part in the Eucharist, and to form deep relationships with one another. Many such folks don’t have the option to find hospitable shelter on rainy days such as Sunday, and some simply choose against it. And some congregations spend far too much money luxuriating their sanctuaries and adorning their walls. Common Cathedral is an organic illustration that the Church – the ekklesia, the “assembled ones” – does not need much to be. We are witnesses, not buildings.
Katie and I didn’t make it to Common Cathedral this Sunday, but we dearly hope to attend in the future!