It is an exciting time in the life of our congregation! God has blessed and sustained us in our life together and our ministry thus far, and promises to guide us into a vibrant future. In September, the Transition team will begin leading us through a process of self-assessment and visioning that will help us discern that future. We will be sharing the information we have gathered and provide opportunities that will inspire and motivate all of us to share our ideas and suggestions, explore potentials and possibilities, and hear God’s leading. These discussions will allow us to shape our life together in ways that will help us deepen our individual faith, better equip us to be vibrant witnesses to the Gospel, and reach out to our community in service. I know that each of you are deeply invested in the health and vitality of our congregation and will make many meaningful contributions as this process unfolds.
Through a number of conversations I have shared with staff, our leadership team, and many members, I have discovered that worshipping together in one service paired with opportunities for fellowship invigorates many of you. It provides a greater sense of unity and camaraderie and fosters better communication. Upon reflecting on our needs and strengths as a congregation during this time of transition, and in light of the activities planned for this next year of visioning and collaboration, I asked our church council to revise our Sunday morning gathering schedule. With discussion and prayerful consideration, we shaped the following schedule, to facilitate our efforts:
9:00 – Sunday School and Adult Discussion Group along with Coffee hour and refreshments
10:00 - Worship Together
11:00- Fellowship with refreshments
The new schedule will take effect on September 6th, with Educational ministries resuming on September 13th.
On festival days such as Reformation Sunday (October 25), All Saint’s Sunday (November 1), Christmas Eve (December 24), Easter (March 27) and Pentecost Sunday (May 15) we will shape services that celebrate these occasions with a well-loved hymns as well as current favorites.
This decision was not made lightly. I respect the need and desire for multiple worship styles and musical preferences. God speaks to us in a variety of ways – especially in the ways we worship. I pray that any personal sacrifice this joint worship service calls us to make will not be a cause of disengagement or discontent, and that we can all keep the greater purpose in mind as we make the necessary adjustments. This is a temporary measure, intended to foster an environment where we can hear God’s leading as a unified community of faith and purpose.
In order to honor those preferences, our services will be shaped this way (music for all services will be selected from a variety of sources that will allow for the most uplifting and meaningful worship experience):
1st Sunday – Traditional worship based on the LBW - I have also planned a series of sermons that will explore various parts of our liturgy so that we can gain deeper insight into, or a refreshed appreciation, of the richness and meaning of what we do when we gather to thank and praise God. These reflections will be compiled into a booklet that can be used as a personal reference and/or teaching tool in the future.
2nd Sunday – Blended worship
3rd Sunday – Blended worship
4th Sunday – Blended worship
5th Sundays – Healing services (in months when a 5th Sunday occurs.)
One of the best ways to honor God in our life together is to communicate honestly and openly with one another in a spirit of trust. If you have questions or concerns about our process going forward, please speak to me personally. I am always happy to hear what you have to offer. God has entrusted us with the treasure of his love and mercy, and it is his deep desire that we live and work together in that love, with a sense of purpose and promise. He has great things in store for us if we seek his will and ask for his help in doing it. Please pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as Faith enters into this time of reflection and action. I am confident that this time next year, when we return to our customary Sunday worship and gathering schedule, that we will do so with a vibrant and compelling 5-year plan for regeneration and renewal. May God fill us with the joy of being his people in this place!