Our mission statement at Hope Central Church is this: to make ultimate meaning, to move toward the heart of God and to repair the world – three verbs: make, move, repair. We also so we are a learning congregation, yes?
Here’s how I know we are a learning congregation fulfilling its mission to make, move and repair is that our spiritual needs change and our congregation moves to meet these spiritual needs. Our evening service is such a great example of learning and moving.
For the last year, we imagined a new way to worship in the evening. On the second Sunday, mostly, we had a Taize service, mostly led by Jeanne Lucas. On the fourth Sunday, mostly, the Evening Service Imaging Team led new, innovative services that allowed for a wide leadership from many good people.
On the first, third and fifth Sundays, the worship staff, Vanessa, Courtney and I led a “usual” service in the evening.
After a year, we know we want to stick with the Taize service on the second Sunday, and we’d like that service to always be on the second Sunday evening – so that we may depend on that time of prayer together.
For the other Sunday evenings, we are imagining building and growing our spiritual expression and worship with a different sort of service, a singer’s service. Our current size of about 25 people in the evening worship is perfect for this sort of service. Our accompanists are those who can play the song, and always, voices. The leader of music is us, all of us. A singer’s service means not that everyone is an opera singer or even that one can sing in tune, but that the responsibility of building the music belongs to everyone.
Although we are still imagining this service, Jeanne Lucas, Ellen Snoyenbos, Terry Steeden, Courtney Jones, Vanessa Morris, Suzanne Wolk, others, and I, this is the basic idea. Those who can play instruments will bring them at 5 PM to tune. At 5:30, we begin with a few songs to open our spirits. We’ll have a time of confession and assurance of pardon, then we sing. We’ll have a reflection on scripture, and pray, and then we sing. We’ll have communion, then we sing. Then our worship is over and our service begins.
This is experimental, this idea, and it will take a while to build our capacity and confidence to carry such a service as this. We will build a hymnal, and we will each own our own copy, to make notes in, to add chords to. We will also have hymnals for visitors so that all are welcome and able to participate.
We hope by this evening worship experiment to build a vibrant additional way to center ourselves in worship, to make ultimate meaning, to move toward the heart of God, and to repair the world.
Our morning service continues to grow in attendance and spiritual depth and at present, will not change in form.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me. God is moving in us collectively, and I’d love to hear how God is moving in you.