Sunday, June 28, 2009

DIY Church Service

Our church has been without a pastor for almost a year. Our long-time settled pastor left us a couple of years ago, and it took us a couple of months to find an interim. The interim resigned last fall, and since then we've been going it alone. We have a terrific team of leaders who have found pulpit supply, last winter we shared services with a sister UCC church for 2 months, and we've had a lot of lay-led services in between. Today was a real experiment. No pastors were available today --- our pool of supply pastors were either involved with General Synod, on vacation, otherwise booked, or no longer preaching. Our usual lay leaders were out of energy and ideas. So at council last week we decided to hold a very informal service. We had an organist to play some hymns, a soloist, and a reader to read the gospel lesson from the lectionary. Our fearless Nurture team Coordinator directed the proceedings. The lesson from Mark was read, and then the congregation was asked to meditate on the reading for a few minutes, and then invited to share thoughts. (Those members of the church who are in our church's on line "chat group" had been asked to wrestle with the passages during the week, so at least we knew that a few folks might have something to share.) This was a rather scary thing for us to do today ----- but it fit the "hope in the midst of fear" motif that Rev. Songbird wrote about over in her blog. The service was well-received. And we got good news today. The Search team has identified a candidate who will be preaching for us in mid July!!

Now the next challenge is the July 5th service. Again, we have been unable to find an ordained pastor to lead the service. I'm heading up a small group to lead this service. I found some terrific worship resources here and here. This last has some youth and adult Sunday school lessons, which we're adapting. We will give the congregation a copy of the Mark gospel reading and 3 questions to ponder, with room for folks to jot down thoughts. Then again, we will invite the congregation to share their thoughts. It's also a communion Sunday, and we will be adapting a communion liturgy. While we know this isn't exactly kosher, we also know that our congregation does not want to miss communion. (We did this once before when we could not find an ordained person to do communion.) So another scary moment. WE are so ready for a pastor! I hope we don't overwhelm whoever she or he is with our eagerness to hand over the reigns!


Songbird said...

I really think that's fine about Communion. It's not like you are propagating heresy! You tried and could not find a pastor for the day. If someone is really worried about it, have a neighboring pastor consecrate the elements earlier in the week. (But I wouldn't worry about it.)

Jennifer said...

It sounds like a really nice way for a new pastor to arrive, with lots of appreciaition for what it takes to plan and lead worship!