Worship manners

CCH at worship is, like most of Christianity, a sincere mix of the sacred and the secular. We respect the holy hour of 10:00 AM on a Sunday, yet we chuckle when most of our members rush in around 10:07. We believe it is the quality of the experience that matters, yet we are sure to take a headcount each week and compare it with previous years. Nowhere is this more evident than in the morning announcements and “Joys and Concerns.†It is certainly the most debated items of worship by our church Deacons (those in charge of worship).

At the beginning of each worship service I take a few minutes to tell the gathered about the upcoming programs of the church—classes, needs for volunteers, meeting dates. By doing it this way we seek to balance the need to inform our community with the desire to have an appropriate environment for worship. The two issues that plague the Diaconate are the best time to do the announcements (in the beginning before we begin, or later in the service when everyone is here to hear them), and who should make them (only me, or open the floor to all.) The Deacons had designated me as the sole announcer. Because some people have failed to give me announcements, or I have occasionally forgotten to make them, we have revisited and changed this policy. From now on, if a member wants something announced they should write it down and give it to me. But, I will also ask for any announcements that have not been previously made.

Joys and Concerns is the time when anyone may share a blessing or a prayer concern from the previous week. This leads to lot of Diaconate discussion time. What is an appropriate joy and concern? How to keep people from talking too much? How to encourage people to talk? How to avoid program announcements in this time? How to communicate these concerns? Who should talk to whom? It becomes quite complicated when you throw in the various personality issues involved. (The Deacon’s job can be quite tough.)

So, this long introduction is to say that I have some reminders of worship guidelines to share. Call me Rev. Manners. Here goes:
v If you need an announcement made about programs of the church please write it down and hand it to me before worship.
v If you forget to do this, I will ask for additional announcements.
v Please, do not make any program announcements during the joys and concerns–this distracts from the sharing of personal concerns. (It also doesn’t count if you try to make it a concern by saying, “I’m concerned that no one is coming to the group that meets on…â€)
v We do want to hear all blessings and prayer concerns and will take as much time as needed. But, we ask that our members be sensitive of the time and be brief. You may speak as often as you wish, but I generally don’t think that anyone has more to say than once a month, unless they have a major life crisis.

Church is a mix of sacred and secular. The most important example of this is us humans who use the best ideas, talents, and materials at our disposal to honor the holy in our midst.

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