One of our recommendations coming from our HCI experience dealt with our worship. Three years ago, we went from having two Sunday morning services down to one Sunday morning service. For the past several years, we have been considering what a new, second service would look like. After considering a different second service through a lot of prayer, conversation, and reflection our leadership team, staff and CMC have agreed that for the time being we will focus on our one service. At this present time we do not have either the passion for or the critical mass needed to begin a second service.
However in the coming months we will be very intentional about some changes in our worship in order to be even more inviting. It’s important for us to grow in our worship attendance so that we can remain “Big enough to make a difference.”
In the past several weeks there have been a couple of small changes in worship.
We are working on a more first time user-friendly bulletin. Next time you’re in church take a look at the first word on the bulletin cover. The word is “Welcome.” One of the things we’ve discovered about ourselves from talking with our guests is that we are a welcoming church. We thought it would be good to start with that expression.
I’m not wearing my robe and stole every Sunday and we have asked the choir to experiment with not wearing robes every time they are singing. We will still wear our robes on the first Sunday of the month. Again a small change that many believe will make a difference in how inviting we are to first time visitors and guests.
We are still celebrating Holy Communion on the first and third Sundays of the month. But we are changing where Holy Communion occurs during service on the third Sunday of the month. Having Holy Communion earlier in the service, directly after the first song, makes it possible for children to receive communion. A lot of us like that.
There are a few other changes that are also being developed including…
Making the bulletin even more new user friendly. This might mean fewer inserts and written reminders. What would it be like to read announcements on the screen or on the monitor at fellowship time?
Hopefully you’ve read somewhere that we are going to keep using (for a lack of a better phrase) a “Sermon Series” model for our worship. This means that themes for worship and sermons will still be scripturally based. Instead of following a prescribed “lectionary” reading, we will explore topically how to praise God and follow God’s ways through Jesus.
We will be inviting some of you to participate on our inviting welcoming team. This team will focus on our response to those have who visited us and who are searching for a new church home.
One thing many of us have learned in this process is that we need to learn and continue to respond to the needs our community and continue to nurture and speak to the members of EPUMC; who are two sides of the same coin of growing disciples through worship.