Following the success of the Compline on Fountain Square during Diocesan Convention this year, Praxis Communities invited several Cincinnati area parishes to help host “flash compline” during Advent and Lent this year. Flash mobs are groups of people who assemble suddenly in public places for some kind of act for a brief time and then quickly disperse. Often these flash mobs are offered for the purposes of entertainment or artistic expression.
We decided to see if we could use this idea to offer a brief time of prayer in our city. It is a bit like a church bell tolling, naming the time of day and invitation for a brief pause and a call to prayer in the midst of our busy lives. We chose compline because it is the shortest of our daily prayer services in the Book of Common Prayer and it is a beautiful and peaceful way to end the day.
Each week a few minutes before 8 pm on a Sunday night, people begin to gather. Each Sunday is a little different, we have prayed on a street corner with cars and trucks whizzing by and another week, we sung a Taize chant while trying to keep candles lit as cold winds whipped around us. This past Sunday more than 50 of us gathered with dogs and children and we lit incense and sparklers as the sun set over the horizon. We prayed together and then we left, the laughter and smoke dissipating with the setting of the sun. Holiness in the midst of life.
We hope to start a movement to re-discover one of the church’s ancient prayer services. We encourage you to offer “flash prayer” in your community. Each week a different church hosts the service and chooses a public outdoor place in their neighborhood for us to gather. If you are interested in hosting, please contact the Rev.Jane Gerdsen at email@example.com.
This Lent Flash Compline was co-hosted by Christ Church Cathedral, Calvary Episcopal Church, Church of the Redeemer, St. James Westwood, St. Paul’s Newport and Fresh Expressions.
Our friend Maggie Foster, former Floral House member and young adult from the Diocese of Southern Ohio is doing Flash Compline while in school in California! Check her out in this article!