Worship for Journey in Faith, a ministry of Faith Lutheran Church, West Fargo, has moved to the Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center on 40th Avenue East in West Fargo. Worship is held weekly at 10 a.m. in the Commons area, a bright welcoming area close to what will become their permanent home in 2013 when construction of a new facility is complete. Worship had previously been held at the Scheels Arena where Shooters Bar was transformed into a worshipful space each Sunday.
Journey worship is informal and interactive, said Pastor Judy Holmen, and is based on the same cross-generational concept that has brought national attention to Faith's Christian education programs. Worship is contemporary and includes a children's time led by lay volunteers. Children are encouraged to participate with adults in everything from collecting the offerings to helping with holy communion.The goal, Holmen said, is to build relationships -- relationships with each other, relationships to those in need, and ultimately a personal relationship with a loving God. The casualness appeals to singles as much as it does to families.
Worshipers sit at tables, and are free to move around in a relaxed atmosphere. The lay leadership and staff of Faith Lutheran Church learned long ago that, while many cherish a traditional worship experience, others prefer portable seating and freedom of movement -- the pattern that has made their summer outdoor worship successful.
Construction for a multi-purpose facility is currently under way in what has been called the pumpkin patch near the Sheyenne 9th Grade Center. Having acquired ten acres of land five years ago the congregation vowed to practice the stewardship they preach by seeding and nurturing crops of produce to supply the local food shelters and raise money for Great Plains Food Bank. Folks recently surprised neighbors by delivering pumpkins to their door as a symbol of old-fashioned neighborliness.
The Reverend Peter Schmidt, senior pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, said the name "Journey in Faith" was selected by the leaders of Faith to be welcoming to everyone, no matter where they are in the spiritual journey. He describes this congregation as one church in two locations, with Faith Lutheran Church continuing to be a strong presence in the city as it has been since it was established in a huge leap of faith in the Great Depression. It was built in what was then the population center of West Fargo.
Pastor Rich Kramer and Amy Kippen, director of youth and family faith formation, emphasize that while the new facility will provide space for Journey Worship, its first construction phase (one of three phases) is intended to provide space for the growing faith formation programs for children and youth. These programs have been developed in a cross-generational mode with a focus on Home Huddles, a tool to help bring families closer together with the motto: "Bless the Child, Gift the Family, Every Week at Church and Every Night in Every Home." Amy was the recent recipient of the YWCA Women of the Year Award in the Faith Community category.
Everyone is invited to check out Journey in Faith worship -- meeting at the Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center, 800 40th Ave. E., West Fargo on Sundays at 10 a.m.