Dear Members and Friends of Saint Timothy’s,
A clergyman’s best perspective for viewing Holy Week and Easter is in his rearview mirror. At least it is for this clergyman. I always appreciate those moving and intense days from Palm Sunday through Easter Day, but I appreciate them most after they are over. If I have some time to think back over those most precious days of Our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His celebration of the first Holy Communion, His atoning death on the Cross and glorious Resurrection, I always appreciate them more. They are a marathon to live through as a clergyman so, like a long road race, one always appreciates them more after a recovery and reflection. Ask someone who has just completed a long distance race whether or not he wants to run another race and you will very often hear the reply, “Never”! Ask the same runner a few months later and he will be making plans to run the same race the next year. There’s a similar reaction living through Holy Week and Easter. Ask a clergyman his reaction to Holy Week and Easter when we are about fourteen days into Eastertide and you will get a much more positive and meaningful response.
Our Holy Week and Easter services, for many reasons, went so well. They were a blessing to me and many of the faithful. Of course, it’s always good to see the attendance of faithful parishioners increase, but also there was a good flow to the liturgies, moving musical renditions of some of our favorite hymns and presentations of the Matthew and John passions, and there is a way that these Holy Week and Easter liturgies just “bring the parish together”. We should thank John Herrmann and our choir members, all the acolytes and lay readers who served through the whole week, the Altar Guild who helped with all the extra services, and everyone who had a hand in our special Easter Day reception. The whole glorious week was possible through the work of the Holy Spirit and the many hands of faithful parishioners. Thank you.
During Lent, we asked as many parishioners as possible to give us their opinions about the times of our Sunday services. Church growth is really the reason for generating the opinion poll. Our Invite, Welcome and Connect group became curious to find out whether or not our service times are really the best for attracting newcomers and newcomers with children. In simply asking various parishioners what they thought about the times of the church services, the Invite, Welcome, Connect group discovered that maybe 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. may not be ideal. So to gather more data the people working with Invite, Welcome, Connect asked to take a simple opinion poll through the Lenten Season. They wanted to find out what we thought about having our services at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., or leaving them at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. The results are in and here they are: services at 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. received 28 votes, 8:30 and 10:30 received 53 votes and 9:00 and 11:00 received 58 votes.
The question driving the need for the survey is whether or not our current service times of 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday are the optimal times for attracting newcomers. On the heels of that question is whether or not our current parishioners find the 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. times helpful. Families and families with children have voiced the unhappy circumstance of the 11:00 a.m. time being so late. Families get up, get ready to go to Church and have to wait until 11:00 a.m. They want to worship the Lord. They want to have their children in Church School, but the whole schedule does not start until 11:00 a.m. The other lament from parishioners is that when they worship at the 11:00 a.m. service they are not returning home until 2:00 in the afternoon, leaving very little time for plans for Sunday afternoon, or needing to hurry to return to Church if there is a program or event later on Sunday afternoon or Sunday evening. Underscoring this lament, as revealed in the number of persons who desired the 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. times, is they are mostly young people and young people with children in their twenties and thirties.
With all of this in mind, we are going to change the times of our services to 8:30 and 10:30 beginning Sunday, September 10th. This will give us plenty of time to let everyone know and anticipate the change. We can then begin the fall season with an enlivened Church School, be fresh from our summer vacations, and know that Church services will be at a time when we can worship the Lord a little earlier and enjoy a day devoted to Him.