We had an interesting conversation at our Local Preachers meeting last week around the topic of evening services. One of our members had asked for this to go on the agenda and I am not really sure any of us knew where it might go.
It turned out that it was quite a good conversation with a number of very good points coming out of it and I suspect some food for thought.
I think it would be true to say that along with many churches and groups of churches (circuits) there has been a decline in Sunday evening services in our circuit in recent years and there are often good and sensible reasons for ending this particular event. Conversely there are places where the service continues and struggles to do so due to declining numbers of attendees but we carry on because Mrs Bloggs wouldn't get to church if we closed the evening service.
In our circuit there is quite an emphasis placed on the use of the revised common lectionary and I was interested to hear that someone had said they don't come at night because it is more often than not a repeat of the morning even down to the same hymns. It would seem that preachers are taking the lectionary readings for the main service whether they are at a church morning or evening and I suspect use the same sources to plan their service. I am aware of one preacher who deliberately uses the readings for a second service if he is out in the evening.
Perhaps there is some value in preachers talking to one another so that there is less of this happening, or heaven forbid that I should be controversial here but let's not have quite so much concentration on the lectionary and let preachers have a degree of freedom to choose. I know someone might come back and say they have that already but it does seem to me that they may not always realise that and they certainly don't apply it.
Anyway there is a little taster but I have just realised the time so must go and get ready for work - I will return to this topic as there were other things said that may be worth sharing - if you do have any thoughts on this topic so far don't hesitate to comment as I believe it would be very helpful.