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Yep, we hear it all the time — the 18 – 30 crowd wants something that ‘speaks to them’.  And, yes, some of you will say after reading the next paragraph, ‘Oh, not THAT again!’

But, it’s true.  Many younger people thrive on the traditional Christian liturgies. 

Many thanks to Pastor Paul McCain for highlighting this in Cyberbrethren.  As an Anglican, and having converted whilst I (and many others) were in the 18-30 age group, I can attest to the power of tradition.

SolemnHighMass3_t640 Richard Gintowt

Let’s take up the story with in a story by Sarah Henning dated August 29, 2009 (pictured above — more photos in the article):

To say that Trinity Episcopal Church went in another direction might be a bit of an understatement.

When the church decided to add a new service in fall 2006, instead of looking forward, it looked back.

Way back. As in the fourth century.

The result is a unique celebration of Christianity referred to as the Solemn High Mass. A mystical meeting of old traditions in a setting where blue jeans and T-shirts are appropriate, the Sunday night service features incense, music and what the church, 1011 Vt., refers to as all of the ‘major propers’ including the Kyrie Eleison, the Gloria in Excelsis, the Credo, the Sanctus and Benedictus and the Agnus Dei, which are chanted.

Performed only during the Kansas University school year, the service, which began its 2009-2010 season last Sunday evening, has snagged a crowd young and old, Episcopalian and not, says the Rev. Paul McLain, the church’s curate.

Mr McLain says that many university students participate in the choir. Even better, people drive from miles around to attend.

The former rector (pastor), the Revd Jonathan Jensen, came up with the idea for the service:

‘We wanted to create something new that was different from what other places could offer in Lawrence. Lots of churches in Lawrence do contemporary worship, and that’s wonderful, but this is a 150-year-old downtown church that looks like an old English church and we have a fantastic organ and a wonderful chorale tradition, and we know what we can do best. And it’s not contemporary. It’s that (old style). And, so, we wanted to have this distinct offering.’

Kansas University Junior Kevin Hood attends in jeans and a T-shirt.  He wasn’t even raised as an Episcopalian, but he says:

‘I’ve been to a lot of churches around, and almost no church in the area that I’ve been to does things with as high, sort of formal, style as this is done. It’s very rare. It’s uncommon. Even most Catholic churches don’t do it in high style…

‘I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the idea that it uses all your senses — it just sort of inundates you with things,’ Hood says. ‘This thing encourages you to smell and to taste, to touch and to see and to hear and just sort of be flooded with … the presence of God and the presence of everything that we care about. Yeah, it really gets you involved on a totally different level than most services do.’

If you are interested in attending, Trinity Episcopal is located at 1011 Vermont in Lawrence.  The service takes place every Sunday at 6 p.m.  Don’t miss it!


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