When Sherry Taylor met with the Pastoral Relations Committee last night, she encouraged me to use this blog as a space to explain why we do the things we do. This can give you, the reader, an opportunity to know that for the most part, there is a method to my madness.
How fortunate I feel to be your pastor! You put up with a host of fun, new, innovative, and sometimes weird things and ideas from me. But I mustn't take all the credit, often whenever a new idea or a new way to do things finally makes it to the congregation in worship, it has been viewed and reviewed by the Board of Deacons. Actually, both Ann and I have worked together on almost all of the new ideas (save the movement of the pews- and that we talked about beforehand, we just didn't actually decide on anything).
As you look at the new Order of Worship, you will find that it now has new categories. Following examples in the UCC's Book of Worship and altered to fit our congregational needs, the bulletin now has these subject headings:
Gathering for the Word
which includes our Welcoming, Call to Worship, Prayer of Invocation, Processional Hymn and the Choral Introit
Imagining the Word
this is the place where we'll put a children's sermon, a liturgy, or skit
Hearing the Word
which includes both the Scripture reading and the Choral Anthem
Responding to the Word
here we have the Call to Offering and the Offertory, the Doxology or Hymn of Praise, the Prayer of Dedication, the Passing of the Peace, and the Song of Celebration
Touching the Word
the sermon goes here followed by the Pastoral Prayer, the prayers of the people, the Lord's Prayer, and the choral Amen.
Sending with the Word
which includes the Recessional Hymn, the Commissioning and/or Blessing, and the Choral Response.
Another change you have noticed is the placement of the Announcements. It used to be at the beginning of worship. It was moved to the Coffee Hour that immediately follows worship because we discovered that the announcements were taking 10-15 minutes. By the time Worship actually started, we were worn out. And, the longer announcements meant that the overall service was running over 10-15 minutes (or longer!).
All in all, the change in the worship is meant to enhance 'the flow' of the service where one part leads into the next in as seamless a manner we can find that builds and ebbs and empowers. This can be tricky and takes some adjusting from time to time. Fortunately Ann and I work great together. We'll try and try again to help make the service as special and spiritual beneficial to all who gather on Sundays.
A birthday present in the manger scene
3 hours ago