A message from the rector about summer changes in liturgy at St. George’s, 2016
Greetings beloved St. Georgians and friends,
As we begin our summer season of worshipping together, I want to share with you some of the changes that will occur as well as some of the reasons for those changes. Although the liturgy is a sacred mystery, I do not want it to be confusing. I like to be as transparent as possible and welcome your feedback and questions.
The Sunday service at 7:45 a.m. will continue through the summer. It has been and will continue to be our most “traditional” service, and I am not suggesting any unusual changes to the liturgy. Every week is different, of course, even at 7:45! Different people and different priests mean that there is always some variety.
The Celtic service at 5:30 p.m. on Sundays will continue at its same time. Some of the prayers and responses will change as they usually do when we shift from one season to another. I do want to have a meeting with some of our Celtic service leaders this summer to reflect on the worship at this service. How has it changed over the years? How might we continue to revise what we do so that it best serves our worship of God and the needs of the worshippers?
Compline, the chanted prayer service for the end of the day, will be offered on May 29, June 12, July 10, and August 14th (second Sundays in June, July, and August) at 8 p.m. This gives our Compline choir a bit of a break.
The weekday services of noon prayer (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) and noon Eucharist (Wednesday) continue through the summer. Come and join the staff and other members of the congregation who gather for these brief and meaningful pauses for prayer.
Another aspect of worship that does not take a break is financial giving. Please keep up with your offerings, even if you are not here to put them in the plate on Sunday. We can arrange for electronic delivery or you can mail it to the church. Contact our business office.
For many years, the practice at St. George’s has been to combine the 9:00 and 11:00 Sunday morning services into one service at 10 a.m. during the “summer” (roughly Memorial Day through Labor Day). It is a time when church attendance tends to drop as people are traveling more (although I certainly encourage you to come to church when you are in town!). It is also a good opportunity for the members of our congregation who attend these two services to be back together for a few months. One larger service rather than two smaller ones makes sense. The choirs and chamber ensembles get a break over the summer and will also join back with the rest of the congregation. It is impossible to make everyone happy all the time, and it is a challenge to combine two very different liturgies into one service. Our solution last year was a sort of “hybrid” of the two. This year, we are going to alternate weekly (with a couple of exceptions) between a 9 a.m. liturgy (drawing from the Book of Common Prayer and the Episcopal resource, “Enriching our Worship”) and the 11:00 a.m. liturgy (following The Book of Common Prayer). This is a decision made by myself along with Gay Rahn, Carey Chirico, and John Vreeland and in consultation with our worship and music commission. At Eucharist, on the Sundays we use the Book of Common Prayer service, we will use Prayer C which is more participatory. The 9:00 jazz band will take a break for most of the summer as well, although they will play on June 12, July 10, and August 14. On the Sundays we use Enriching our Worship without the jazz band, we will have music led by the grand piano and perhaps a few instrumentalists. It will be simpler and less jazzy but still participatory and filled with spirit.
Christian formation on Sundays also takes a break over the summer, although we will have occasional opportunities for adults, youth, and children. Keep an eye on the announcements and newsletter. We will still gather for fellowship after the morning services. Coffee continues!
I hope that those of you who love one service or the other will take this chance to experience worship in a different style and to connect with other members of the parish that you do not see as often or have not met at all. We are blessed with so much variety in this parish, so many expressions of God’s gifts. May God bring us together in our variety and remind us that we are one Body in Christ. Thanks be to God for all of you and for all the ways in which we worship God together.