Lord’s Table Saturday Charrette

Last Saturday architects, engineers, and designers of various stripes from our churchgathered together to participate in acharrette.  For most architects this is common parlance for any collaborative session in which a group of designers work intensively on creating a solution to a problem.  (The term originated with french architectural students in the 19th century).  The goal is to create a useable product in a limited amount of time with available resources.

In this instance it was a gathering to both brainstorm and design a solution to the rustic folding table we have been using for the Lord’s Supper for the past couple of years. Our church is currently involved in a worship renewal grant program with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship focused on teaching and renewing our practice of the Lord’s Supper.

We met first thing on Saturday morning and after fueling up with some great food and coffee I laid out a brief overview of biblical and historical concerns that would feed into the day.

There are an overwhelming number of viewpoints in which to consider the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.  So we decided to focus on the common names and the biblical themes which those envision (drawn in part from The Worship Sourcebook)

  • Lordʼs Supper” conveys that Jesus himself is host of the supper and that we celebrate this feast in obedience to Christ. The Lordʼs Supper is a ʻnewʼ covenant rooted in remembering the OT story of redemption. (The LS is an active community event reflecting God’s pursuing actions in Christ)
  • Communion” highlights the intimate union we experience with both Christ and fellow believers. [Unity and Fellowship, horizontal and vertical elements]
  • Eucharist” (based on the Greek word for “thanksgiving”) names this feast as a meal of gratitude.  As we reflect on the gracious gift we receive in Christ we are led in turn to think of those who need our gifts. (ethical dimension of the supper)
  • Marriage Feast of the Lamb” The Lordʼs Supper is an eschatological event. It points both into the past through ʻanamnesisʼ and into the future through promise.  (In the Feast of the Lamb we are both fed, and we work to feed the future faithful)

The Lord’s Supper has expressed itself in various architectural manifestations throughout history. We took a tour of a brief cross-section.

  • The roman lounging table .
    How it is believed Jesus took the last supper.
  • The Medieval Alter. (the mass)
    – The ‘high alter’ and communion rails (the people separated from the meal.  Movement from meal to sacrifice)             – Davinciʼs ‘Last Supper’ another example of an inaccurate, if not iconic, visual portrayal.
  • The Scottish long table.
    The meal returned to the people.  A large thin table is built in the central aisle where the church literally sits together and eats the bread and wine.

  • The puritan ʻfamilyʼ table.
    Home as a little church. How most of us visually recognize the Lord’s Supper today. The Table, more or less, resembles the size, height, shape of the dining table.

Issues of the symbolic table:

– People don’t sit at this table. (Should be made higher so easier to see from congregation?)

– People aren’t fed at this table literally. (Doesn’t need to have a large top)

– Large number of people approaching all at once. (more like a buffett? Wedding imagery possible here?)

– How much burden to express direct biblical imagery? (Cross, Nails, Trinitarian, vertical vs. horizontal,

– Visual is front of table, not top. (Unusual focus for typical table)

From 9am-noon we had four groups of three begin the brainstorm process.  They wrote down themes, explored their own understandings of the Lord’s Supper, suggested shapes and structures that were evocative and tried to let their imaginations run wild.

Then after lunch everyone gathered back together to get a bird’s eye view of the mornings work.  Each team took turns talking about their thoughts/initial designs.  One architect took notes of similar themes and repeated design elements.

From here a smaller team will fashion the final design.  Then we will hand off that design to our engineer/builders who will construct the table. We’re very excited that a father of one of our college students is a blacksmith.  Here is a pic of him welding our legs.

Our fiber artists will then create a number of pieces to attach to the front of the table for each church season.  The table will hopefully be finished during the summer.

[shuh-ret] noun
– a final, intensive effort to finish a project, especially an architectural design project, before a deadline.  from the old french meaning ‘cart.’


Design Charrette – Lord’s Supper Table

Design Charrette – New Communion Table

  • Our church has an incredible wealth of talented designers and architects.  Since we’ve been using a glorified folding table as our Lord’s Supper Table for the past few years this grant was a grand impetus to gather and talk about the process of creating a new table to use. We decided to begin the process through an experience familiar to most architects called acharrette.  A Charrette is common parlance for any collaborative session in which a group of designers work intensively on creating a solution to a problem.  (The term originated with french architectural students in the 19th century).  The goal is to create a useable product in a limited amount of time with available resources.  Full post on the event here.  You can also read a write up on the project I did for the Church+Art network.

The Bread Show – Urban Garden


May 4, 2012 at visual art exchange, Raleigh, NC

Performance Baking by Olivia Griego and Amber Wood
Text by Paul Kilpatrick
Directed by Pj Maske
White Weight Wheat Wool, fiber art installation by Gabrielle Duggan
Poly-bread, installation by Miles Holst
Bread Zepplin, poster by Mollie Earls
Daily Bread 1 and Daily Bread Manna, paintings by Kyle Ragsdale
Butter Barkers, Todd Buker and Evan Mitchell
Bread consultant, Lee Quinn
Clothing draped by Amy Quinn

Special Thanks to Sarah Powers, Meredith Burgess, Amy Quinn, Malissa Kilpatrick, Geoff Bradford, Bruce Benedict, The Calvin Institute, Cheryl Motheral-Lynn

“Street butter! Get your Street butter here!”

Butter Barkers beckoned crowds off of West Martin Street with tantalizing promises of a feast. Once inside, visitors found themselves surrounded by visual and performance art, an interactive rye grass touch table, and mountains of homemade bread. Throughout the evening children joined the festivities, gathering around the performance table to knead their own dough. The throngs did not go away hungry. Some visitors even took the show home with them in the form of wild Raleigh yeast starters, each jar bearing a name (Sandra, Lincoln, etc.) and proper care and feeding instructions:

So, my 3 older kids have so enjoyed their baby sourdough starter. They NEVER refer to it as the starter, though. It’s Isyphene. And they talk about “her” as though “she” is a member of the family. We made our first batch of dough yesterday, and plan to bake it today. I wonder how the thought of eating Isyphene’s offspring will go over. Oh well, thanks for giving us such a fun project. We’re learning lots about yeast and fermentation.  ~ Beth Ingram Peterson, May 8

After one-night-only performance baking the visual art remained on exhibit through the month of May.

“Back to the Beginning” (Artists’ Statement): The Bread Show is an art show involving installation, performance, sculpture, paintings and BAKING exploring the place of bread in the world.  Seeking to engage all the senses in an exploration of the most important food in the world. A little more: I [Paul] sensed there was something interesting to be said about bread. Gathering artists of every available stripe we broke bread together and then we talked about it. There is A LOT to talk about when it comes to bread, given enough time, and possibly wine, you could talk about bread forever. It is integral in the development in the world. Every culture has their own bread. It is important in every way: philosophically, spiritually, historically, economically, culturally. Come join us as we bake, eat (and churn butter) May First Friday at VAE. We want people to talk about Bread. Happily it is a fun and often delicious conversation.


Lord’s Supper Project from Christ the King

Songs for the Supper cover art

“The Eucharist is the sacrament of cosmic remembrance: it is indeed a restoration of love as the very life of the world.”   — A. Schmemann

“Christian Liturgy is fundamentally an act of *anamnesis, an act of rehearsing God’s actions in history: past and future, realized and promised.”  — John Witvliet (CICW)

Events | Projects | Study | Music

Last year a few leaders in our church got together to dream up a project to both direct and inspire worship renewal in our weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper.  We were reading through the resurrection accounts in Luke and arrived at this unnerving passage where Jesus is walking with a few of his disciples who don’t recognize him. What?! In fact it wasn’t until he broke bread with them that their eyes were opened.  In this moment the disciples experienced the kingdom of God revealed in this resurrected King.

As Jesus spoke to this small group of disciples he opened the scriptures and taught about himself from the books of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms (Luke 24). We wondered…what verses, passages, stories did Jesus pick to speak of himself?  From here we worked on a year long plan where each Sunday, in the context of the Lord’s Supper, we would read a passage of scripture moving from Genesis to Revelation – culminating in a shared meal during Holy Week.

Our goals for this project are three-fold:

1. To enrich, deepen, expand our remembering (anamesis) of Jesus in our weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper both corporately and individually.
2. To improve our skills both in presenting and hearing scripture.
3. To engage our church in a continuing education/experience of the work of our Triune God in the liturgical act of the Lord’s Supper.

Worship Grant Proposal (PDF)
Worship Grant Timeline and Project Notes (pdf)
Christ the King Website

Lord’s Supper Resources from Mike Farley – LINK
Cardiphonia “Songs for the Supper” Collection
Our charrette to build a Lord’s Supper Table

*Anamnesis – (from the Greek word ἀνάμνησιν meaning memory), refers to the memorial character of the Lord’s Supper where we are called to ‘remember’ the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. It has its origin in Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, “Do this in memory of me” (Ancient Greek: “τοῦτο ποιεῖτε εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν”, (Luke 22:19, 1 Corinthians 11:24-25).

This project is made possible by a worship renewal grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (with funding by the Lilly Endowment). www.calvin.edu/worship