Touch, Anoint, Heal – A Series of Sunday Evening Worship Experiences

Simon de Voil and Peter Ilgenfritz are leading three worship services in connection with the Christians in Visual Arts exhibit, “Touch, Anoint, Heal”.  The Final service will be this Sunday evening, May 10 at 5:00 in the chapel at University Congregational United Church of Christ.

For the past two Sunday evenings Simon de Voil and I have been leading aG7A4526-150x150 series of experiential, contemplative worship experiences in conjunction with a gorgeous art exhibit in our church chapel.

Simon and I met 8 years ago when he was on staff at the Iona Community and the leader for the youth pilgrimage from our church to Iona.  Simon’s a gifted songwriter, musician, and will be ordained as an Interfaith Minister in June from One Spirit Seminary in New York City.   It’s been a great gift to our church community to have Simon back with us leading worship.

G7A4533-150x150On the first evening, we focused on “Touch” and explored body prayers.  Simon de Voil taught us a body prayer that he had modified from the Islamic tradition.  We then played with mirroring the postures depicted in the art of the exhibit and explored what opened up for us as we held a particular gesture or form.

After interacting with the art in this way, we laid hands on each other as G7A4535-150x150we came forward with a particular body prayer that we held for the world, our loved ones, or ourselves.  We sang, we passed the peace, and through it all learned new ways to pray, worship, and meet God.

For our second service, we explored anointing.  Anointing is an ancient practice used for blessing, healing and protection.   We began by a symbolic washing of hands – a washing away of what is in the way of our receiving the gift of anointing – doubt, hurt, anger, exhaustion.

In pairs, we talked with each other what we want to be called forth in us and then invited into a ritual of anointing each other with oil.
G7A4527-150x150It has been a powerful experience to explore organic, intimate ways in a beautiful setting to deepen our connection to the Holy.  A powerful experience to create a safe place for us to go to deep places of worship together.
I hope you might join us this Sunday, May 10 for our final service in whichG7A4524-150x150 we will focus on “Healing”.
For more information on other upcoming events as part of our “An Inverted World” Vital Worship Grant, see the website “”  Thanks especially to Candace Tkachuck for coordinating the website and providing the pictures and some of the text for this blog post.

2 thoughts on “Touch, Anoint, Heal – A Series of Sunday Evening Worship Experiences”

  1. Peter, I’m very grateful to you and Simon for providing this wonderful opportunity to experience worship, art, relationships, and vulnerability in ways many of us might not have experienced otherwise. The art is magnificent and the notations provide amazing insights to the artist’s vision. Thank you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s