What is the early (Celtic) service?
As part of the St. Croix Vineyard community in St. Stephen, NB, Joel & Katie (Gorrie) Mason together with Walter & Carol Thiessen, started the early service in 2007 as an experiment in creating a simple worship gathering with a slightly Celtic, liturgical flavor (a few of the readings come from Celtic tradition or communities, and Celtic spirituality has been an example of an informal, community-based and creation-oriented liturgical tradition). For many of us the regular use of liturgy, lectionary readings and symbolic actions (like making the sign of the cross) are ancient but new-to-us practices that we have found to be very life-giving.
We hope the liturgy can create a beautiful and relatively consistent framework that will allow the meaning of the words to soak into us as we grow more and more familiar with them over time. The liturgy structures the service in a way that first ushers us into a holy space where we become more deeply present to God and each other, culminating in Holy Communion – sharing the Wine and the Bread. Then we turn our hearts outward, blessed and empowered for the week.
The Scripture readings are drawn from the revised common lectionary and help us to stay connected with the full breadth of Scripture, the church around the world, and the rhythm of the church calendar. Other readings, poems and songs are drawn from a wide variety of contemporary sources and help us to stay dynamically connected to the culture around us. Following the readings, there are opportunities to share reflections and discuss thoughts stimulated by the readings.
We try to ensure that the liturgical form does not interfere with the gathering being an occasion for spontaneity, the guiding of the Holy Spirit, and the joy of fellowship and humour. For this reason, we are just fine when things do not go as neatly as planned.
We meet in the cafe at the Vineyard Center. Before the service (9:15 – 9:30) we share muffins, coffee, juice and tea, with the service itself usually lasting from 9:30 until 10:10. After the service, folks stay and chat, or occasionally ask for prayer.
When & Where
The SCV early service meets in the cafe at the
Vineyard Center (32 Victoria St., St. Stephen, NB)
on Sundays at 9:15 am. All are welcome.
Your own early service?
We invite you to use our weekly prayer service compiled from bits of Scripture, borrowed liturgies from Iona and Northumbria and passages that our own people have added over the years. It's always best to pray in person along with others. If you know some folks who would want to join you, print out some copies of the file below and join us where you are. Below that is the alternative liturgy that we use occasionally.