We will be staying at two worship services through the summer months. To my knowledge, this is the first time we will try this (instead of moving to only one service during summer) in the history of this congregation.
It is not unusual for churches to move to a “summer schedule,” with fewer worship services and programming offered. Historically, churches had less summer attendance (or even CLOSED for the summer) because wealthy congregants went to their beach homes for the summer.
Blessings on you if that is your plan (can I come?), but it is no longer the reality of congregational life that people move away for the summer, or it’s at least not the reality of OUR congregational life. (Some of our congregations in very hot locations do close during the summer.)
I have two reasons for keeping us at two services.
The first is that when I look at summer attendance for previous years, I don’t see a noticeable drop. This is counter to prevailing wisdom! I’m sure some of you will have memories of attending a summer worship service that was poorly attended. But surely part of the reason for that might be because the minister has historically been on vacation during the summer months. I will be leading worship five out of eight Sundays in July and August. (I will be taking two weeks off for vacation, July 15-29.)
The second reason is that attending Sunday morning worship is a habit, and when we change the worship times, the habit is disrupted. I want you to come to Chalice on Sunday mornings! Communal worship is a powerful and important spiritual practice. It is the central event of our congregational life.
So I don’t like for us to change the times around too often, and I like that we have two times available to attend. If you can’t make it to the 11 a.m. service, maybe you can make it to the 9 a.m. service. It’s good to have choices!
And as with everything new that we try, it’s an experiment, we hold it lightly, and we know that if it doesn’t turn out the way that we hoped, we’ll learn from the experience for next time.
We have some wonderful worship services planned for July, keeping with the central worship theme of “Telling Our Stories.” Our July 7th service kicks off the month with my sermon exploring how we make meaning through the stories we tell. The July 14th multigenerational service celebrates the San Diego Pride Festival as several congregants share their coming out stories. The July 21st service will be our annual poetry service, looking at how we tell our stories through the use of poetry. The July 28th service features Gary Cagle and Kathy Zapata-Bergamini telling stories of travel and transformation.
I know there are many enticing activities to enjoy on a beautiful July morning, and I hope you will make worship attendance one of yours.
Bright blessings, Sharon