Nine years ago, St. Stephen’s gathered with our closest neighboring churches for a celebration of common worship we called Holypalooza. It is a unique expression of what we call ecumenism: a gathering that crosses denominational lines. It is ultimately the manifestation of what Jesus was challenged to do in last week’s gospel from Mark 7: to break the boundaries to widen the circle.
The original concept for Holypalooza was as much grace-filled as it was practical. We represent three relatively similar mainline traditions who are all neighbors and all facing the same demographic future. And we are surrounded by Indiana State University. Shouldn’t we do something?
The original Holypalooza was a block party in August that hoped to attract students. It was not nearly as attractive as they thought it would be. But it was a big blowout and a lot of fun (and work)!
The founders were not solely motivated to attract college students. Their real purpose was to work together, to find common cause, and to lay the groundwork for a new era of neighborliness that might engender hope and shared work. A purpose that is fulfilled over time through doing the work.
This year, Holypalooza will exist primarily online. And as I write this, we are not sure whether we will be open to in-person gathering this year. But nonetheless, I hope you join us for worship at 10:30. See the Announcements for details. [Or click here]
We will still have our 8:00 service this Sunday. And in the spirit of the ecumenical work, St. Stephen’s youth are joining the combined youth group this fall. Our work continues, grows, and changes in fascinating ways.