Notes about Worship
The fact that Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on Sundays presents us with both opportunities and challenges in the church. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate Christmas together on Christmas day. However, we are sensitive to a couple of realities. First, the volunteers that are so essential in our worship services will be limited in their availability on those days. Many will be out of town or gathering for traditional Christmas and New Years festivities. And we are aware that the size of the congregation will be smaller than usual for the above reasons. There will be many churches who will not have worship on that day at all for these very reasons. So, we have made the decision to have one service on both Christmas and New Year’s morning at 10:00. There will be no Sunday School on those days unless individual classes choose to meet. On Christmas morning, the service will be very relaxed. We will sing a lot of the traditional carols of Christmas and have some special moments with the children. Truly this will be a “come as you are” service. If the kids are still in their PJ’s, that is fine! It will be great to celebrate Christmas together as a church family.
On New Year’s Day, we will adapt for our use, John Wesley’s traditional covenant service which he did every year on or around the 1st. We will reflect on both where we have been and where we want to go, as we covenant together. Both will be great services of joy and celebration. So make your plans now to be with us.
As many of you know, there has been a great deal of discussion about worship going on in the staff and the Servant Leadership Team for the last few months. A particular focus has been on the times of the services. The Ministry Directors/Staff presented a recommendation to the Servant Leadership Team that consideration be given to adjusting the times of worship to the following schedule.
9:00 – 9:50 a.m. : Traditional Worship
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. : Blended Worship
11:10 to 12:00 p.m. Blended Worship
After a good discussion the SLT agreed that this recommendation should be taken to the church conference next Wednesday (starting at 6:00 p.m.) for further discussion and input. It is important that we all understand that this recommendation has to do with changing the worship times only and not the worship “styles” of each service. We intend to keep the discussion focused on the times. Other than the times for the services, there would be two major adjustments that will need to be made if we adopt this schedule. One is that the first and third service are projected to be 10 minutes shorter under this plan so some adjustments will need to be made in sermon time and other parts of the worship order. And the second is that we would be asking Sunday School classes to adjust their start times from 9:45 to 10:00 and 11:00 to 11:10. Plus shortening the time between services from 15 minutes until 10 minutes will cause those who are involved in the services (choir, worship band, liturgists, preachers) to adjust correspondingly.
Finally, I would say that this comes as a recommendation to the Church Conference. We hope that we will enter into a good and constructive conversation at that time. If the consensus of the Conference is that we move forward, then we would anticipate this new schedule would take effect on Sunday, January 8.
Changing worship times can be risky business. Our goal is to make worship as accessible to the largest and most diverse group of people possible. If we are successful in doing that, then it will certainly be worth the risk. After all taking risks for the Lord is one of the core values of St. Luke. Come and join the discussion as we consider these changes in our Sunday morning worship times.