Thoughts from the Vicar
Sunday 10 December 2107
2nd Sunday of Advent
Worship patterns 2
Last week I talked about the ‘Why’ – the reasons and thinking behind the changes to the service pattern. This week is more the ‘what’ – how those changes will work out in practice.
Holy Communion At present we have five shapes of Holy Communion we use at morning worship. All five, plus an additional, will continue to be used, which one will depend on the nature of that particular Sunday. Communion services will be longer than at present because in a combined service more people will be receiving communion.
Baptism Morning Baptism services will now be Baptism with Holy Communion. This is important in teaching that there is a necessary additional step of Confirmation on the journey of Christian faith. Morning Baptisms will be limited to eight Sundays a year.
Family Service This will continue in its present form and when it is Family Service or other services that are not Holy Communion in the morning, there will be a cathedral style Holy Communion in the evening.
Young Church will continue as normal with the children leaving for their groups before the Ministry of the Word and coming back in during the distribution of communion.
Music will be, as at present, provided by Music group, Girls’ choir and morning singers of the SATB choir. For the future, consideration is being given to creating an all-age choir to sing at one communion a month and also the appointment of a contemporary worship leader to develop that area of worship.
Hymns will continue to be selected from a wide range of sources. We will try to have one Sunday when they are all from hymn books and on the other Sundays all will be on screen but hymn books and numbers will used as well.
There will be things that are lost or relocated in the changes.
Café Church will move from a Sunday morning to a Thursday morning, though we are thinking of doing pre-service breakfasts on Family Service Sundays.
Contemporary morning worship with longer sermons and extended worship (with more charismatic elements) will move into New Sanctuary, on the first Sunday of the month at 7.45pm, starting in February.
Prayer Book language or settings will be part of evening worship and Matins will continue to be available monthly at St John’s Adlington. We shouldn’t forget that we continue to offer a wide variety of worship services across the week in our four buildings.
The huge gain is that once a week we come together with our rich diversity of worship preferences, church traditions and experiences to give glory to the one who gave everything for us and celebrate our unity as His people.
Sunday 3 December
1st Sunday of Advent
Worship Patterns 1
When we set out on the long journey that led to our wonderful rooms and the Achieving the Promise vision I had promised that when the building work was finished we would return to the two mid-morning worship services that were the long-established worship pattern of St Peter’s. Over the last few months the Ministry team, morning congregations and PCC have been consulted on this question and a number of factors have influenced the decision on how to shape our future worship patterns.
Helping Our Mission. Over those ten years, both at St Peter’s and in the wider diocesan and national context, Church and worship has changed in many ways. There are four main worship streams in the Church of England which we have labelled: Contemporary, Classic, Traditional and Fresh Expressions. Across the parish there are those who will want to express their faith and commitment to Jesus through worship in each of these four styles. Looking towards the future some styles are more outward focused than others.
Stewarding Our Resources. Across the parish we deliver between eight and eleven worship services per week excluding weddings and funerals. The resourcing of those services involves not only providing ministers and musicians, but readers, sidespeople, intercessors, sacristans, communion assistants, refreshment makers etc. Resources are limited and numbers of areas are feeling the squeeze.
Maximising Our Opportunity. We are one of the largest Churches in the Diocese of Chester, we have many gifted and able people in the congregation, the development of Hubs has shown that there is not only a passion and desire to make a difference in the wider world (in a wide variety of ways) but that it is being achieved and that there is the potential to do much more.
Building Our Community. There are few places in our society where intergenerational gathering happens and that is one of the great strengths of Church and after service refreshments. It is a great witness to the world that being a Christian is belonging to a community – a community formed around Jesus and made up of every age and many cultures.
Drawing together these themes that have been drawn out from the consultations of mission, resources, opportunity and community, a decision has been made on future worship patterns. We will have one blended 10am service on Sundays instead of the two services at 9.45am and 11am. The details of this will be on next week’s worship sheet. Thank you to everyone whose thoughts and prayers contributed to this – we can look forward to an exciting new year!
Sunday 26 November
Sunday before Advent
Imagine the phone rings and it’s not PPI or a consumer survey, but a genuine call from an event or an organisation where, or from whom, you bought a raffle ticket. Much to your surprise, delight and amazement you have been drawn out first and won the first prize! The prize is a fabulous night out at a first-class hotel with a meal and live entertainment from your all-time favourite singer.
They tell you that the prize is not just for an individual or even a couple, the prize is an all-expenses paid deal and the entertainment for a table of eight. The difficult question is then who do you invite? Who would be the seven other people you would want to share the prize with? Would it be family or friends or colleagues from work, or those you knew were fans of the singer?
In case you are thinking the vicar is encouraging us to buy raffle tickets, or he’s won a great prize and wondering who to share it with, that isn’t the case.
It’s an encouragement to think about inviting people to Church. It’s very rare for someone to walk past the building and simply decide to come along on a Sunday. Almost everyone has at some stage been brought to a church service by a family member (parent, grandparent etc) or by a friend, or has been invited to a special event or service that has been a stepping stone towards Christian faith.
As we move into the season of Advent and run up to Christmas there are many wonderful events and special services taking place. They provide a great opportunity to invite someone along. Advent Carols, Christingle, Nativity, Nine Lessons and Carols – there is a feast of wonderful delights. It may not be a table of eight, but it could be a pew of eight. It may not be a hotel, but it will be first class. And the menu that is served does not just last for a few hours, but satisfies for eternity…
Who is on your invite list this Christmas?