Worship services have special meaning for every individual who takes a seat in our sanctuary. This fact alone poses an interesting challenge when we think about how we see our church in the near and distant future. Not surprisingly, “Make changes in the way we do worship” is one of the top five projects as selected by you, our members. If you were present at our “Hats Off to the Future” session, you will remember that this topic sparked a lot of dialogue. Music was a focal point that had us thinking about “possibilities”. Do we imagine a guitar and several other instruments leading us in more contemporary style hymns or songs? Do we imagine changing the way we use music throughout the service? Do we dream of having members of every age group frequently involved in the music we favour? Whatever we imagine, I think we can agree that one goal in changing how we worship is to attract and retain a broader cross-section of our congregation. Take a few minutes to watch to this interview with our Music Director, Alison Kranias; it may help you crystalize your thoughts. Another short video synthesizes some of the discussion we had at “Hats Off to the Future”. While we might not entirely agree with Baptist perspective, I think you will recognize some of the concerns we are facing as they are described in this clip.
Another theme that surfaced during our brainstorming was making our worship services more relevant to today’s world. If we would like to see more of our community crossing the threshold and participating with us, we need to become more sensitive to our local cultural environment. The educational arm of the United Church , Edge Ministry, held a conference in Saskatoon in June called, “Worship Matters 2013”. One of the keynote speakers, Jonny Baker, well-known for his work with alternate worship in the United Kingdom, provided attendees with a rainbow of ideas on how to make worship services deeper and more meaningful (see details under “Source” below). Here is an article by Jonny Baker that might give you ideas about alternate worship and why it has been chosen by some congregations. While the slides from his presentation at the Saskatoon conference are not available, you can browse through his notes by clicking here . You might also enjoy considering some of his innovative ideas at his blog
If you need more food for thought, take a look at this short item called, Worship and Spirituality from the United Church website. I found the list of action items on the last page particularly enlightening.
Using technology in new ways to enhance participation in our services was much discussed by the younger members of our congregation during the visioning sessions. Look for my post that will explore this idea in more depth in the coming weeks. Communion is also a very powerful part of our worship; that will be the topic for the third week.
As a starting point, I would like you to imagine what your ideal worship service would look like and describe it for us. Maybe you have visited other churches and seen elements that touched you; share them with us. Perhaps you have read about innovative services, possibly in The Observer; let us know why those particular ideas grabbed your attention. We need to hear from you!
The United Church of Canada. (2013) “Worship Matters2013, The Cutting Edge, Where Preaching, Music, and Liturgy Collide”. Retrieved on October 15, 2013 from http://events.united-church.ca/worshipmatters/.
The United Church of Canada. (2013) Worship by Theme. Retrieved on October 23, 2013 from http://www.united-church.ca/planning/theme#spirituality.