In September Bishop Lane invited a number of congregations to consider forming teams of two to “Pray the Neighborhood” for one year. He asked them to take a walk around their neighborhood for an hour each week, to pray together about what they observed, and, ultimately, to gather the teams to consider how their church might join the mission of God at work in their specific locale.
Recently I asked some of the people who have committed to praying their neighborhood what they have discovered after the first few months.
The Rev. Tim Walmer of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Wilton said,
We saw a large amount of Halloween decorations around the neighborhood: fake tombstones, a zombie or two, spider webs, and lots of pumpkins. So, realizing our church is in a central location, we opened the church doors on Halloween evening and passed out popcorn balls and cookies for the kids and hot cider for the grownups. We had more than 100 people stop by. I don’t have high expectations about them coming on Sunday, but the experience of simply greeting people at the front door of the church was thoroughly enjoyable.
The rector and senior warden, the Rev. Dan Warren and Paul Beaudette, of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Auburn, shared an even bolder, highly un-Episcopal, move. They knocked on a door.