Q: So, Rev. Professional Change Agent, what’s with all the changes around here?
A: Oh, you mean the different way we are doing worship on Sunday morning? Well, we are trying to become a more truly multi-generational community. If we want our children to grow up and embrace this faith as we have, we need to include them in the full life of the congregation. We need to make sure they are comfortable ‘upstairs’ so that when they age out of Religious Education they want to join us. If we want to grow this congregation then we need to welcome families of all sizes and shapes. They need to know that they can come to our services and find a welcome, an inclusive worship program, a place to be together. So we are now including children in the Sunday service for the first 15 minutes or so every week. We are blessed with a very talented Director of Religious Education who knows how to incorporate children into worship. She is a wonderful story-teller; in fact she recently offered a training session for Worship Associates on that very topic. By using the same chalice lighting words every week, we give our children opportunity to learn words by heart; these are words that give shape to the service every Sunday.
Challenge to children and youth: learn the chalice lighting words by heart. Come and
recite them to any staff member and you get to put your name on the Chalice Honor Roll.
(Grown-ups, if you want your name up there, we will accommodate you too.)
Q: OK, but why did you move the Announcements?
A: Because the long period of announcements at the beginning was not a good way to encourage the children to engage.(Announcements are booooring to children.) To make it easier for our children and their parents to participate in the service, we moved them to the end. However, the very end just wasn’t working. We heard from many of you about how much you missed the splendid Postlude as the punctuation mark at the end of the service. So we moved Announcements again. We’ll keep experimenting until we find the best ways of including all ages and stages in Sunday worship.
Q: Anything else you want to tell us about Sunday morning?
A: Yes, thanks for asking. I believe that worship is shared experience. The worship leaders (whether staff or volunteers) need to plan carefully and execute professionally. But worship really works best when everybody wants it to work, when everybody is engaged, when everybody arrives with an open mind and, more importantly, a big and open heart. There may be parts of the service that you love better than others. Some dislike the organ, some dislike silence, some dislike the Reflection For All Ages. Believe it or not, some dislike the Candle Lighting and sharing of joys and sorrows. I would like to suggest that all of you practice the spiritual discipline of accepting all aspects of worship; the part that you barely tolerate may be the most important part for the person sitting next to you. In that way you give each other a gift; the gift of an hour of worship that contains a kernel of inspiration for everybody. All ages and all stages.
Q: So what else is new?
A: Be sure to read elsewhere in this newsletter about the new administrative staff configuration! We worked hard on the plan, and believe it will work better for everybody.
Q: Anything else?
A: This Professional Change Agent thinks that is enough change for this month!
See you at church,
Rev. Roberta Finkelstein,
Interim Senior Minster (AKA Professional Change Agent)