Friday, October 5, 2012

Hold me tight praying

The Center for Pastoral Counseling of VA is offering Hold Me Tight workshops. The workshops are based on the writing of Susan Johnson who wrote a book entitled Hold Me Tight

I especially like the workshop's "Seven Transforming Conversations." 

The reason I mention this is because I attended a service in a United Methodist church in North Carolina a while ago that included quite a few young adults, including young couples. During the pastoral prayer I noticed many of the couples holding hands or even holding each other. (I peeked.)

I was moved. Commitment is hard. Marriage is hard. These couples obviously saw prayer as a resource for their commitment. 

I came back to Foundry and suggested one Sunday that couples hold hands or even put their arms around each other during the pastoral prayer. A few did.

I myself have gotten in the habit of leaving the pulpit and sitting with Jane during Communion. Faith ought to be a resource for our marriages and committed relationships.It is a resource if we will use it.

I did hear back from one single person who said that inviting couples to hold each other made him feel lonely during the prayer. Good point. I don't know what to do about that. Any ideas?

(BTW, it is great to be part of a congregation that believes in marriage equality so no couples in our congregation are excluded!!!)

Check out the video here.  


  1. As a single person, I would find it somewhat exclusive. If done from the pulpit it even hints that romantic relationships are a must. Although as a person that doesn't plan on staying single forever, I also see the benefits of using faith to strengthen and foster healthy relationships. So I guess you could always just toss a coin...

    P.S. It's awesome that your church is a fully-inclusive one.

  2. I feel like I'm missing something here. I assume that you are referring to a general pastoral prayer right? One that includes a variety of things depending on what's happening in the world, the city/town where the church is located, the particular congregation and the lives of the congregants. Why would couples hold one another? It just strikes me as odd. I can understand why you would enjoy sitting with Jane during Communion...or why any pastor might enjoy sitting with the congregation if someone else is serving communion. It's a corporate celebration. But couples holding one another during the pastoral prayer? I don't get it.

  3. I would say that holding the hand of a neighbor need not be part of a romantic relationship and we could be more inclusive by reaching out to one another as we ask our children do when we ask them to pray in front of the whole church. We ask them to hold hands with their neighbor with no thought of whether they are related or not. I know not all children want to do this however I would hope that adults in a church like ours (I also attend Foundry UMC) would be receptive to holding hands in prayer.