“Glory to God, whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.”
We say these words at the close of every Infinitely More worship gathering. These words are potent, vital, life-changing. World-changing, even.
Infinitely More is a new ecumenical ministry energized by and for young adults in the diocese of New Westminster and beyond. Early in 2019, myself and Lauren and Jonathan Pinkney, all of us youth leaders, discovered between us a common longing. We wanted to be able to worship with music that captured our hearts and invited our enthusiasm, while still moored in the liturgical and contemplative depth of our tradition. We were also grieved by dissatisfaction over the aching absence of young adults in our denomination.
United by this, we began connecting with young adults in our region. We didn’t want to replace the typical parish church; instead, we want to empower it and extend its reach to those we have largely been failing to engage. Together with Cameron Gutjahr, Amanda Millar, Andre Stephany, and Chris Barr, we began to create a worship group. We designed a simple liturgy for worship: an hour or slightly more, beginning and ending with written prayers, interspersed with Scripture readings, but primarily held together by music and centering in space for creative and contemplative prayer. Afterward, we would continue the community and find a local pub for drinks and conversation.
We held our first worship gathering on a Saturday night at St. Laurence's in Coquitlam last September. The liturgy felt a little cobbled together, and our band wasn’t always in tune, but as we sang “Beautiful Things” by Gungor and entered into prayer, we knew something holy had taken place. Two months later, we moved to Holy Trinity Cathedral, a central, Skytrain-accessible location for people coming from across the region. There was something sublimely beautiful about singing contemporary praise in the traditional space of a cathedral, a sense of the eternal ancient-future to which robust worship calls us.
We gathered there twice, and then COVID-19 shut down in-person gatherings across the diocese. Didn’t see that coming!
Yet even though the ministry was relatively new and our participants few, we decided to continue Infinitely More. So we moved online. And I am so glad we did. Conducting worship online has called out a whole new set of skills and possibilities for this ministry. We had to learn to record and mix our instruments and design visual liturgy. We reached out to young adults around the region to record themselves reading the prayers. And the result is a video liturgy we are delighted to share broadly. An archived recording of the liturgy is available posted below.
Whether you identify as a young adult hungry for community and for an encounter with the Holy, or simply as someone who’s curious about a new form of worship, we’d love for you to join us. Our next gathering is this month, September 26, 7pm. Depending on COVID, we might be online or in person...but the Triune God we worship - and our need for that God - remain the same.
Together let’s reclaim faith in a God constantly breaking beyond the confines of our mediocre expectations, whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.
Graphics and Photos Lauren Odile Pinkney
ARTICLE BY JASON WOOD, POSTULANT FOR ORDINATION IN THE DIOCESE OF NEW WESTMINSTER AND YOUTH LEADER AT ST. LAURENCE, COQUITLAM