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Our Transition to 10AM

A very merry 5th day of Christmas to you, saints of Trinity! 

It’s been a wonderful month, with a rich and meaningful celebration of both Advent and Christmas. Alongside our Sunday services, we’ve had joyful gatherings to make Advent wreaths and Christmas ornaments, to green the church, a St Nick Christmas Party, our annual Children’s Pageant, and of course Lessons and Carols and High Communion with Candles, and our simple and sweet Christmas Morning Communion Service.  Along the way we’ve welcomed new and repeat visitors, many extended families, and rejoiced at the healing of a number of members who faced health challenges this fall.

Today I want to share with you that our clergy, with the advice and encouragement of the vestry, have decided to continue the one combined 10AM service in the new year and for the foreseeable future.

Before I share some of the reasons for this change, let me tell you that for a long time I was quite reluctant to make it. It was about a year ago that some of our leaders and members approached me with this idea. I was reluctant, however, because I knew how significant a change this would be, having had a 9AM service since we started, and also an 11AM service since our merger with Trinity Presbyterian. Over time, however, with prayer, reflection, and God’s repeated nudge, including the joy of our 10AM service this month, I came to realize that my reluctance was motivated more by personal and institutional comfort than by God’s call.

All of which is to say, I give you permission to not like this idea. I certainly didn’t, for more than a year! But I do ask that you listen to the reasons, and stick with us in this transition, and wait to see what God is up to in the life of our church.

In my prayers and discernment, I have come to believe that God is leading in this direction at this time in order to strengthen our church’s discipleship to Christ, and to increase our joy. This is a step forward, in faith, into God's call on our church. Here are three ways a combined 10AM service does this:
  1. By gathering together in one service, we have a strong sense of our congregation as a united family in the body of Christ, brought together by God not only to worship together, but also to encourage and sanctify one another in our shared walk of discipleship to Christ.
  2. The combined service increases our joy, through the larger number of people in worship, through the strength of our voices in prayer and singing, and through the presence of children.
  3. Holding one service gives us flexibility to hold Sunday School (for children and adults) or Fellowship Events, either before or after the service. Such gatherings contribute to our congregational life and to the growth of our minds and hearts in Christ.

Let me also be quick to acknowledge a few of the challenges that come with this change.
  1. We will experience some dislocation as we gather at a different time, as we find someone sitting in our usual seat, as we hear a broader range of musical style, as the communion portion of the service takes more time.
  2. There will be growing pains in the development of our family and children ministry, which is one of our top priorities. At the same time as we create space for families in the sanctuary, and find additional ways to incorporate children in the worship, we will also be creating cry / nursing spaces, and developing Sunday School and family activities for before or after Sunday services. Our desire is to have a church that both fully welcomes children in worship, and also creates age-specific learning and discipleship opportunities.
  3. We will soon face the challenge of providing seats for all as we continue to grow.

There are, however, silver linings to both of these challenges. On the first point, whenever God takes us out of our comfort zone, he wants us to turn to him and more fully rely upon him. Thus in church or in life, God always desires to use dislocation for our good. On the second point, the sound of children in worship is the sound of a growing church! And on the third point, this is a good problem to have. Let’s pray that the Lord gives us increase and forces us to figure out how to seat all the people coming to church!

With thanks to God for the continued privilege of serving him at Trinity, I look forward to seeing you this Sunday, January 1st, at 10AM!

In Christ -