Our Worship Survey results include universal appreciation of the contribution the choir makes to our worship but also highlight the need for a more accessible approach to worship (especially for those on the periphery of our church community). This proposal is an attempt to offer a wider range of worship opportunities without losing what we already do so well.
The immediate issue facing us was to provide suitable worship opportunities for those who, until the summer, attended All Age Worship in the school hall. Survey responses indicated a wish to build stronger links and to try to integrate and develop what had become a somewhat isolated part of our church community.
At the same time the survey highlighted the particular value that some placed on the opportunity for a monthly choral matins, and conversations subsequently made clear that it was particularly a choral matins and not a choral evensong that was wanted.
We were clear, in consultation with the PCC, that it was not a practical nor desirable solution to run two acts of worship simultaneously, one in the school and one in the church.
We also took account of the reality that the vicar is responsible for weekly worship at St Anne’s as well as St Nicolas.
Having given considerable thought to how we might provide for a variety of needs, the following fourth Sunday pattern is proposed to take effect from the 27th January 2019.
- 09:15 – Choral Matins at St Anne’s Church with Neil and members of our choir followed by refreshments at St Anne’s
- 10:15 – Tea/Coffee/Squash/biscuits are available at St Nicolas (Worship for all planning group to organise) prior to…
- 10:45 – “Worship for All” at St Nicolas supported by Neil and all age musicians and any members of the choir who feel able to support this second service, finishing by 11:30
The reasons for recommending these timings are as follows:
- there is a case to keep the St Nicolas Sunday morning service time the same every week to encourage the existing congregation to attend and be open for anyone who might turn up expecting a service at that time. Whilst family friendly, this is to be a service in the St Nicolas church building which will endeavour to provide a satisfying worship opportunity to those of all ages.
- By the same token there is similar logic in keeping the service at St Anne’s at their regular time of 9.15.
- It is felt important for the Vicar to be available at the end of the family service to enable her to make pastoral connections (i.e. not having to leave to go to St Anne’s).
- The refreshments before the family service should encourage a sense of belonging and community spirit prior to the service and enable people to get away more promptly
A “Worship for All” Planning Group will be established who, together with our Sunday school leaders, will meet with Yvonne Morris, the Diocesan Families Advisor, in November to seek her advice on best practice/resources and to lay foundations that will foster better integration between the monthly “Worship for All” and the regularSunday school.
To summarise: The prime objectives are to continue to offer between the two churches the possibility of a monthly choral matins for those to whom this is important, and to provide a suitable monthly contemporary/family act of worship in the church building to replace of the previous All Age Worship.