On Mother’s Day weekend (May 9-10), we will be transitioning to three weekend live-stream services. We are adding a contemporary service on Sunday mornings, with the intention of creating a new layer of nuance and variety to our already vibrant offerings. The Saturday
5 p.m. service will remain Evening Prayer in the Celtic Tradition, and Sunday will now have a 9 a.m. ReGeneration Contemporary Service, and 11 a.m. Choral Worship. There will be Spiritual Communion at all three services, and the choir and musicians will be few in number until we are allowed to gather in larger groups.
Why change? Adding a contemporary service is one of our ways to work toward one of our 2019 Strategic Plan goals: develop weekly worship services that meet the needs of both seekers and people with no religious affiliations. Having multiple Sunday morning services that can offer different types of liturgy, language, and music creates more opportunities for seekers to find a service and worship style they connect with on an emotional level. As well, a ‘contemporary’ liturgy that is geared toward the vernacular, where people with no religious affiliations can better comprehend worship, helps St. Bart’s live into our motto of “All are welcome, no exceptions.” Finally, with the ongoing pandemic and stay-at-home orders, this is an opportunity to share this service online on a weekly basis, to build up the anticipation and excitement for when we return to having a live congregation.
What will the two Sunday services look like? You can expect the 11 a.m. service to be the same as what the 10:15 a.m. service was—vibrant music led by choir and instrumental ensembles spanning across all genres, liturgy inspired by the Book of Common Prayer and its variants around the world, and hearing the Word of God proclaimed through scripture and sermon. The 9 a.m. service gives us more opportunity to broaden these parameters: more of an emphasis on new music styles led by a contemporary ensemble, a liturgy that engages all ages and faith backgrounds, and readings and reflections set in a modern dialect, led by all ages.
The worship team has been offering a monthly contemporary service called ‘ReGeneration’, where we have finessed much of the liturgy and music that it is now ready to become a weekly Sunday offering. Regeneration is defined as “bringing new and more vigorous life”, and “giving a new and higher spiritual nature,” and the service encourages vibrant congregational participation through music, prayer, and presence. Our eyes look higher, our ears hear new language, and our mouths sing new songs. Dynamic worship can take many shapes, and our goal is to provide another worship opportunity for our community, so we can become closer to God and nurture our spiritual journeys.
I look forward to sharing these online offerings with you, and I can’t wait to worship with you in person again. Peace be with you all.