For more than a year, we have all been worshipping together in one combined morning service because it felt important to us to journey through these difficult times together as one church family.
Inevitably, the combined style of service hasn't suited everyone - for some they've been too many modern songs they don't know and not enough hymns; for others, it's been too many hymns they don't know! For some there's been too little content for children; for others, there's been too much for children and not enough depth for adults.
But through whichever bits of our services you haven't appreciated, remember that they've been important for others in helping them worship God. Church is never just about us and our preferences; it's about being God's family together.
We're now allowed to run children's groups again - but (as with many parts of church life) it will take us a while to get back up to full teams of volunteers to run these groups each Sunday. (Could you volunteer? Telling the next generation about the wonders of God and his gospel is such a privilege and joy!)
It will also take us a while to get back to sufficient numbers of volunteers for welcoming and refreshments and tech teams etc to run two services again on a Sunday morning - quite apart from the fact that having a changeover between services would be quite crowded and therefore not very sensible covid-wise.
So for September to December, we're sticking with a single morning service at 10am - with a slightly different flavour each week. Here's what's planned:
We hope that families will definitely want to come to the 1st and 3rd Sundays - and we'd love families to come on the 2nd and 4th Sundays too, when there will be activity bags and buckets in the families area. Or you can join in from home and we'll put links to suitable family resources on the online church page.
We hope that those without children will definitely want to come on the 2nd and 4th Sundays - and we'd love these people to come on the 1st and 3rd Sundays too - even though some of those services will be more geared towards children.
We will continue to livestream most of the morning services, apart from Explore Together.
In addition, Sunday@3 will re-start on the 3rd Sunday of the month; and that Elevate will re-start on the 1st Sunday of the month (expect September, when it will be on the 2nd Sunday!)
This will just be a temporary arrangement, and we'll review nearer Christmas to decide what is appropriate and manageable for the new year.
This service pattern isn't what we might have planned and wanted; but we trust that it's what God wanted for us, in his wisdom! Rather than choosing which service to come to based on what we think we'll get out of it based on a simple description above, how about doing this: come along or tune in as often as possible, with prayerful, expectant, servant hearts. That's what will make the biggest difference to what any of us 'get out' of church.
Hope to see you soon,