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Processing Out

ProcessionI want to think a bit more about processions.

Too often they appear to degenerate to little more than a church catwalk where people show off their liturgical wearable art. Don’t they?

If that’s what they are – I certainly don’t want to play.

Let’s start at the end. Let’s start at the procession leaving the worship space. There is an increasing tendency, it seems to me, for this to be experienced as those who led the service (within the worship space) to be leading those who have gathered out into the service beyond the worship space…

So we are all processing out – those leading lead this processing out. Increasingly I find the deacon dismissing all at the West door. The people turn as the cross goes past, finally with the congregation facing West, the deacon dismisses all to go out and love and serve.

Alternatively, the deacon dismisses in the sanctuary – those leading then process out, and the rest of the congregation follows. This is the last action. There is no, “Oh but before we go we are going to sing yet another hymn…” or have the liturgy of the notices, or whatever…

What do you do?
What could one do?
What does one do in places where there is the tradition of a voluntary after the service?
Anything else?

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4 thoughts on “Processing Out”

  1. At our primary service, after the blessing their is a closing hymn during which the choir, eucharistic ministers and myself(celebrant-no deacon here)process to the back (west) of the sanctuary. After the hymn I do the dismissal from the center aisle, about a third of the way from the back and then go to the sanctuary door to greet(say farewell to?) people as they leave. At all of the other services throughout the week (no music), I dismiss from the chancel.
    From a practical perspective, the main thing at the primary service is to get me to the door before the crowd so that I can provide a “personal moment” with each worshipper. The other services are more intimate and people tend to not want to rush off.
    Jon White

  2. Our congregation is usually too busy singing (and clapping; another parish in town sets out tambourines and other rhythm instruments for the little kids to grab as part of the final hymm/recessional) to see what happens during the recessional, but yesterday I noticed our pastor slapping high fives with the girls who had been baptized and all her cousins. In our parish, the drive out of the parking lot is also considered part of the recessional, where we are reminded by signs saying, “Entering Mission Territory.”

  3. I writ of our principal Sunday Eucharist /mass. I should mote rgat we have a large robed choit- rather bigger than our Cathedral’s and quite adventurous in a traditional sense with a fine 19th century organ. Anyhow, blessing and dismissal from chancel, then cross bearer, acolytes with candles, choir, anyone who had significant role in service,celebrant. Organ playing. There is a blessing of choir etc at door and they disperse except celebrant. Voluntary is played, about half stay to listen fully but there is a gradual leaving, rather slow as frequent discussions with celebrant at door who stays until those listening to voluntary leave. Something over half move to hall for tea/coffee etc, chat.
    At other services w/out choir blessing and dismissal from chancel. procession led by servers and otherwise much same. If go to local RC church much the same except no grand organ and some escape by side doors.

  4. I would add the processing in liturgy is the best way to show community gathering of the people to his memory and pushing us to share the peace into a world who seek to know we all are inviting to his table as often as we assemble again.

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