New to Anamchara Faith Community?
At Anamchara we find joy in life’s journey through relationships, service to others and authentic faith in God. We are delighted that you are visiting our home here on the web; we also want to extend a heart-felt invitation to visit us at our physical home in the Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church, 142 Crescent Avenue, Louisville KY, 40206. To help you overcome some of the uncertainty and confusion that comes with visiting a new place, we’ve included some information below for our first-time guests.
What time is our liturgy?
What should I wear?
Most of our folks wear casual attire. Dress comfortably.
What should I expect when I get there?
Every Sunday evening, we come from many different backgrounds to join with one another in our liturgy. As we gather, we seek to create a friendly, informal environment where everyone can participate, as they feel most comfortable. When you arrive, you will be greeted warmly at the door and handed a song book and a celebration guide that includes an outline of the celebration and the prayers that we say. Come in and sit anywhere you like.
What happens during the celebration?
Our members are fully and actively engaged in the many of the rituals of our celebration. We begin our time together by gathering around the piano to sing. Our pianist and our cantor are both very talented, professional musicians. Music is an important part of our celebration. It sets the tone for the themes you will hear that day from the Scriptures and the pastor’s homily/teaching. We continue our celebration by returning to our seats, sharing a moment of silence and preparing our hearts individually to encounter God. Community members then proclaim the Sunday readings from the Old Testament and New Testament; the cantor leads the community in the Responsorial Psalm; and the presider proclaims the Gospel reading and then shares a teaching based upon the readings.
Next, we affirm our shared belief in the Apostle’s Creed, offer prayers for our joined and individual concerns, and together seek God’s mercy, forgiveness and peace in preparation for the Eucharist.
We then take a few minutes to circulate and greet each other, update folks on events and news around the community, and collect tithes and offerings another important ritual of service.
The altar table is at the center of our celebration, flanked on one side by religious icons and a candle in memory of Fran, an important cofounder and supporter, and by a handcrafted incense pot centered in a beautiful metal sculpture on the other. We believe that these locally handcrafted pieces of art are an important part of creating the space our hearts and spirits need in which to simply be with God. We gather in an open circle around the altar table for the celebration of the Eucharist, intentionally leaving the circle open for those who are more comfortable remaining seated and for those who cannot be with us. As we share the Body and Blood of Christ by in bread and wine by passing the plate and cup to one another, we ritualize the service we offer outside of the Sunday gathering. The celebration at the altar table is concluded when those in the circle make a profound bow as we recognize the presence of Christ in one another.
Finally, we end our celebration by once again gathering around the piano and singing a closing song. Our celebration: ancient rituals celebrated with contemporary creativity.
There is a place here for you; a place to connect, to grow, and to serve. Come and find it!
On the last Sunday of the month, we invite you to join us for a social hour after the celebration, which includes food, drink and fellowship.
More About Anamchara
Anamchara is Gaelic for soul friend. In Celtic tradition, an Anamchara–soul friend– is a teacher, companion or spiritual guide with whom you can share your innermost life. Anamchara is friendship, rooted in Christ’s love, that creates recognition and belonging, joining souls in an ancient and eternal way. We continue to grow in our understanding and practice of ancient Celtic Christian traditions such as honoring and celebrating the innate goodness of humankind and creation.
Anamchara Faith Community is a crucible for discovering anew the amazing abundance of Christ’s grace and mercy in an environment of radical hospitality.
We are a gathering of soul friends who listen with our hearts and meet all seekers where they are and, indeed, where we all long to be – seeking God’s healing love and empowering purpose. We are an independent, Christ-centered faith community celebrating an active liturgy through a combination of ancient symbols – water, oil, bread, wine, incense, candles, music and sacred silence in a beautiful blend of the traditional and contemporary.
To establish and grow a welcoming, inclusive community with Christ as our host.
To gather and honor God’s diversity of humankind for the celebration of sacraments.
To celebrate our oneness in Christ and embrace our brokenness that is healed through His grace.
To encourage spiritual growth and human integrity by keeping Christ as our focus.
To celebrate the Eucharist each Lord’s Day.
To serve and support our extended community in service.
To celebrate rites of passage in baptism, marriage and funerals.
Anamchara Faith Community was founded in Louisville, Kentucky in the summer of 2007 with its inaugural liturgy October 27, the beginning of a new faith community. Fr. Michael Mernagh and a handful of Christ-seekers with friends and supporters of the Anamchara vision, established a tiny but vibrant and dynamic crucible of community. The community, as with all natural phenomena, experiences an ebb and flow of members and remains open to all seekers meeting them where they are in their personal and spiritual journey.
Our community’s leadership is the pastor and advisory council which consists three to five members plus the pastor. They are responsible for the overall policy and direction of the community and for day to day operations, according to the bylaws. Anamchara is an independent community drawing on ancient Christian tradition guided by the pastor and members. The membership of the council rotates periodically to seek fresh perspectives. Anamchara Faith Community is tithing community and is supported primarily through tithes and donations. We are a recognized 501(c)(3) organization. We are a supporting member of the United Crescent Hill Ministries, an outreach service organization.
Anamchara Faith Community is truly diverse. Our membership includes men and women, straight and gay/lesbian, people of color, married, divorced and single. Our shared experiences in Christianity encompass Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, Unitarian, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Disciples of Christ and more . . . or less.
Our community constitution and by law sates: “Membership shall consist of those who participate and support the worship and education and charitable work of the organization and are known to the treasurer.”
Membership is open to all and self-declared. You come as you are and are welcome.
We are blessed with amazing musical interpretations of God’s love and His Word! Fr. Michael, our founder and pastor, holds degrees in both music and liturgy. He earned a BA in music and philosophy at the University of Alberta, Canada and an MA in Theology with a concentration liturgy from Saint John’s University, Collegeville, MN. He also holds a certificate in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music/University of Toronto.
Our music is fresh and creative while being grounded in ancient tradition of the Christian Church of the East and West. You will recognize some of the music and deeply appreciate all of it! We are grateful for our competent, talented musicians, both a professional pianist (who may break into jazz riffs on occasion!) and a cantor from the highly-regarded University of Louisville Cardinal Singers who continues to evolve in her musical range. During special celebrations – Christmas, Easter and our founding anniversary – we include other talented musicians and embrace a diversity of God’s music from jazz to bluegrass!
In addition to the beautiful expression of God’s love through music in our community, we are humbled by the contributions of vibrant and reverent visual art as well. Our members volunteer to bring the scriptures and rituals to life each week – and especially during special days on the liturgical calendar – with unique designs all crafted by hand with love. The community has also commissioned several liturgical pieces including an innovative paschal candle stand, a functional and creative incense stand and incredible ceramic altar table vessels all supporting and celebrating local artists!
“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” — James 2:26
Anamchara Faith Community pours out its faith into practice. We support our neighborhood ministry, United Crescent Hill Ministries with its outreach mission – food pantry, after school classes and meals, senior activities and much more. Quarterly, we also reach out by celebrating birthdays with the men from Saint John’s Center for the Homeless, providing lunch for home builders at the Women’s Build for Habitat for Humanity, collecting books for a library for recovering men at the Wayside Christian Mission, to name some examples of our commitment to “faith in action.”
We seek to practice “radical hospitality” in our Sunday liturgy. Wee also practice it by gathering either at a member’s home or a restaurant or even in God’s own setting at a park or nature preserve to share communion and a meal.
On the last Sunday of each month we also bring treats and coffee to share after our evening celebration so we can truly remain connected, sharing life’s sorrows and joys along with sweets and savories. Those “Social Sunday” gatherings are a good time for new members to get acquainted.