Friday, July 11, 2008

Tuesday’s Meeting

On Tuesday, July 15 at 7:00 pm we are having a Parish meeting. The main purpose of the meeting is to discuss what we might do (liturgically) if we had a combined service on Sunday mornings. There might be those who want to talk about whether this is a good idea at all and feel that we should maintain our current schedule of 8:00, 9:15 and 11:00 am services.

The Agenda for the meeting will be:
- Prayer
- Open discussion on the purpose or need for combining services (30 minutes)
- A brief presentation on the shape of Anglican liturgy
- Open discussion on the liturgy
Either on what the liturgy of a combined service might be like
Or on improvements that can be made to the liturgies of our existing service schedule
- Next Steps (Meeting is scheduled to end at or before 9:00 pm)
- Prayer

Some Thoughts

For me the question about having a combined service at 10:00 or 10:30 am on Sunday mornings is not about what my personal preferences are, it is about what is best for the Parish. The Parish Vision and Mission statements motivate me. On the surface neither statement speaks of combining services although the issue did come up several times during the extended process we undertook to develop the Vision and Mission statements (they can be read here).

Three of the five characteristics of the Mission are Worship, Hospitality and Belonging. All three speak of togetherness and community, which are the most common thoughts expressed by those who would like the combined service. The question remains, if combining the services will accomplish these goals. One could easily maintain that the Mission statement suggests that we are called to offer more opportunities for worship, rather than fewer.

Whether we change the schedule or not it is, I believe, time for us to expand our approach to Sunday morning’s liturgy. I will maintain a distinctive Anglican shape to the liturgy: Gathering, Word, Prayer, Eucharist and Dismissal (or what I prefer to call the Scattering, see Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23). Liturgy is a great opportunity to educate, elevate, motivate and to worship. Maintaining the structure as well as the repetition of prayers and hymns all helps accomplish these benefits of worship. But so do surprise, shock and discomfort. These aren’t the only opportunities we have in liturgy; we should also have joy, humour, comfort… A balanced liturgy is one that encourages all of these characteristics, not necessarily in every worship experience but overall in a year’s worth of Sunday morning liturgies each opportunity should have it’s due.

Members of St. Paul’s are encouraged to enter into this conversation about our worship.

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