Sunday, 4 January 2009

Our first go

After so much planning and publicity, we were glad to worship this way this morning for the first time. The planning group is meeting again on Tuesday evening so that we can debrief while things are fresh in our minds, and plan the services for February and March in ways which improve on our first go. Feed back is very welcome to help us in this process.

Each of the participatory activities (art, drama, music and prayers) was presented beautifully, but it turned out that the group exploring the link with Ecuador was the one which more people wanted to join and on which more commented as they left; it helped that two of the people who came happened to know Ecuador already and could make extra contributions, and this aspect of the life of our churches clearly touched some people.


Sceptic said...

I wasn't really looking forward to The First Sunday Thing and it didn't help when I read the magazine of a United Reformed Church in another town that appeared to be trying a similar venture. They called it "Messy Church" and one of its aims was to reach people who couldn't cope with a formal service. Fine, I thought, but what about those of us who can't, or don't want to, cope with informality?

In the event the hour passed quickly and, as you would expect, Peter drew the threads together in a dignified closing act of worship. But I would have preferred a hymn sandwich.

At the close of the service something happened. A person I had not met before and who, I understand, is fairly new to the church told me that they had found the event very interesting and that they had learn't something new each time they had come to church and I felt slightly ashamed. Ashamed that I had not come with the expectation of learning something new but merely a hope that it would not be as bad as I thought it might be.

Perhaps in time I might even look forward to The First Sunday Thing though it might be a little while yet.

Bizarre57 said...

Good to read your comment Sceptic & glad, despite your reservations & the need for the passage of time before you begin to look forward to The First Sunday Thing, that there is the implication you will continue to attend. Always a helpful first step! :-)

Peter Mullins said...

I've always been aware of those who didn't enjoy even our old Family Service. I remember once doing something cringe-making and someone saying to me afterwards that they had been thinking at the service especially about a loved and recently deceased member of the congregation 'because she always hated this service'!

So, thanks, Sceptic, for your honesty, as well as for passing on the feedback of the others with whom you talked. I probably need to take your words with me next time I too go to another church with 'merely a hope that it would not be as bad as I thought it might be'.

We will, of course, continue to provide most of our Sunday services for 'those of us who can't, or don't want to, cope with informality', and be genuinely grateful when they support our experiments in informality as well.

Anonymous said...

bI really enjoyed this 1st Sunday Thing but my husband refused to come because he said it was not his church so would not be going anymore

Peter Mullins said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for your comment, and I'm glad you enjoyed our first go at worshipping this way. I'm sorry, of course, that your husband didn't want to come simply because the two churches were worshipping together in one place rather than holding separate services, but it is good that you have reminded us that this is indeed what happens (whether the shared worship is traditional or experimental). After a few months we will need to look at the pattern of attendance to see whether the up sides balance down sides such as this, but it is probably too early to judge at the moment.