Worship Planning Underway

by The Rev. Mary Vano on June 30, 2016
Two months ago, we announced plans to add a third worship service to our Sunday schedule.  The last eight weeks have been full of gathering feedback, information, and ideas, and the plans are beginning to take shape.  Starting September 11th, the St. Margaret’s community will be worshipping at 8:00, 9:00 and 11:00 on Sundays, with Christian Formation for all ages at 10:00.

What does this mean for you?  Well, first of all – and especially for those who like things just the way they are – you should know that the 8:00 and the 10:30 liturgies will remain largely the same (except that 10:30 will shift to 11:00).  There may be a few minor tweaks, but if you’re happy with our current worship services, then you can be assured that you’ll still have the worship that you love.
The “new” service will be the one at 9:00 – and it will be different.  The purpose of adding a worship space is not just to create more space for the members of our community, but also to provide another expression of worship that may attract and serve new and different people.  In other words, this is part of our mission, and so we are making decisions about the design of this liturgy based on the strengths that we have to offer and our call to serve our neighbors.

Thinking about our unique strengths, our hopes for St. Margaret’s, and our surrounding community, staff and vestry leaders have decided to create a liturgy that is multi-generational, fully-inclusive of children, casual, intimate, and heart-felt.  It will be a shorter service – approximately 45 minutes – with fewer readings and shorter prayers.  It will follow the basic form of the Holy Eucharist in the Episcopal Church, but will have some different prayers.  There will be a short children’s sermon, in which children will be invited to sit on the floor around the preacher, followed by a brief and casual extension of the sermon for the adults.  Music will be led by piano, and maybe another instrument or two, and focus on songs that are familiar, repetitive, and easy-to-sing – yet, always beautiful.

Over the next month, the Reverends Cindy Fribourgh and Ragan Sutterfield, John Briggs and I will be putting the details of prayer and song into the outline we have created thus far.  On August 14 and 21, we will have two Sundays to “try out” the new liturgy.  Then, we will officially begin the new schedule on September 11th.

In the meantime, I am asking you to consider two things: first, how you will participate in the new schedule; and, second, who you will invite to join us.  For the first consideration, be aware that adding a new worship service roughly doubles the number of volunteer leaders we need for each Sunday.  We’ll be looking for Greeters, Ushers, Altar Guild members, Lay Eucharistic Ministers, and Children’s Chapel Leaders.  We need lots of people, so please volunteer!  For the second consideration, in order to ensure the success of our new worship schedule, we have set a goal of having a minimum attendance of 70 people on September 11th at both the 9:00 and 11:00 services, and of having at least 25 of those people being new visitors or returning members.  In order to accomplish that, our goal will be to extend 200 personal invitations to your friends, acquaintances and family members.  By August, we hope that everyone will know of at least one person that they want to invite to church – and we’ll be providing you with a very special invitation to give them. 

This is an exciting time for St. Margaret’s, and I pray that this step will be one more way for us to Bring the Good News!