We have been traveling through a time of transitions at Holy Cross. We, your Congregational Council, like to think of it as a time of immense opportunity!
Things have been changing and as change occurs, we have been assessing how the changes have been working. One change that actually took place several years ago was the change to one service on Sundays for the summer months. It has been a particular joy to watch whole families share in the worship together. This has not always been possible during the school year as children and teachers don’t often get to attend services with their families. It has also been a joy to watch two services come together in one service, followed by a coffee hour that is more relaxed and enjoyable.
During the school year, the time between services can be quite hectic as various choirs rehearse, meetings are held and “coffee hour” becomes “coffee five minutes”. Usually, no one from the early service shares coffee hour with those from the later service and vice-versa. Fellowship among members of the Holy Cross family becomes lost in the shuffle. Those who attend the 9:00 service don’t often get to hear the Sanctuary Choir, as many of the members do double duty as Sunday School teachers. Those who attend the 10:45 service don’t get to see or hear the Children’s Sermons or Choir. Additionally, our kids don’t get to participate in worship while they are in Sunday School and their parents are in the 9:00 service.
For all these reasons and more, your Council has been discussing how to address these issues and make worship and Sunday School more meaningful for everyone. We have decided that, instead of moving back to two services on Sunday morning in the Autumn, we will have Sunday School at 9:00 for 45 minutes followed by a single service at 10:00. Coffee hour will follow the 10:00 service.
We feel this change will provide many opportunities for a greater faith life for all our members. At 9:00 while Sunday School is in session, parents can join together for either formal or informal faith building activities, ranging from Bible study to “Coffee with the Pastor” to chatting with other adults to helping out with the Sunday School. If you really need to, that time can be used to make that last minute grocery run before coming back to share worship with your kids!
At 10:00, we’ll all gather together to share in worship as God’s family and families. Children learn to worship by actually being in services. We are first and foremost a community called by God to worship. Why would we want to leave the children out of this important part of any Christian’s faith life? Also, everyone who would normally worship on Sunday would be worshiping together instead of in two distinct groups. Everyone would be able to enjoy all our choirs, which have been part of the great musical tradition at Holy Cross. Coffee hour after the service will not be under the time constraints caused by two services.
Pastor Van Orden, with the help of our staff and the Worship and Music Committee, will plan the services which will be more traditional than the 9:00 was last year and a little less traditional than the 10:45 was. On any month with five Sundays, beginning on the last Sunday in August, we will have a Contemporary Worship Service, with outside musicians and modern Christian music.
Now change comes to everything made by mortals. As such, we will look for feedback from you, the congregation, in the form of surveys, just prior to the first Sunday in Advent. Your Council has prayerfully considered these changes and we realize that they are significant for Holy Cross. We ask you to give these changes a try and ask God to help and guide us as we move forward together in Christ.
If the people of Holy Cross respond positively to this schedule as we expect they will, and we find ourselves filling our Sanctuary to overflowing, we will add a second service to accommodate the crowd. We will also have two services on the “big Sundays,” Christmas Eve and Easter. But we believe that this move is the right one for us at this point in time. We appreciate your support.
Grace and Peace,
Your Congregational Council