Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Sunday Evening Services - What's the point 2?

Following on from my previous post here is more on our conversation last week.
We discussed circuit services and whether we should perhaps have them on a regular basis say once a quarter. I have to say that we tried this a couple of years ago and I was fully supportive of the project which had majority support at the Circuit meeting. I think in a number of ways the project was doomed to failure: one church opted out from day one;other churches did not communicate the project effectively to their members; the organising group did not communicate the project effectively (and I was one of this group); people arrived expecting a traditional 'hymn sandwich' circuit service and didn't get that;fairly tight guidelines were given to those leading the services - no music older than 30 years (excludes lots of fantastic hymns)- service must be no longer than an hour ( I find that one quite difficult as did at least one other person who was constantly looking at their watch).
In case anyone thinks I am having a go at the project let me redress the balance and say that other circuit services are not that well attended either - we had one a couple of weeks ago to welcome a new lay worker and a supernumerary minister who is taking charge of two churches and the congregation drawn from 10 churches was around 90 people - when you consider that two of the churches the lay worker will be attached to each have morning congregations that could match this you would have hoped that there would be a better turn out.
There is of course always the argument of transport, but in the case of the circuit service project mentioned above we had offered to arrange transport and I am not aware of anyone taking us up on the offer.
I think it has to be said there will of course be those who think they know what is going to happen at the type of service that was organised during the project and decide it's not for them - how do they know if they haven't been to one? At least dip your toe into the water.
I have to say that from a personal point of view the circuit service I dislike the most is the circuit carol service which in my 10 years in the circuit has often seemed more like a performance than an act of worship, and woe betide anyone who tries to introduce any new ideas. I tried a couple of years ago and was very firmly shot down. I had dared to suggest that we have a couple of more modern songs and that instead of all ten churches organising it we move it around the sections in the circuit and just have the churches in the section of the circuit doing it. Apart from saying that people thought it would not then be a circuit service(????) I will leave you to imagine the reaction to the idea of some more modern songs.
A group of us did arrange an alternative carol service on a night in the week which although it had a poor attendance people who came thoroughly enjoyed it.
Well it's the witching hour as they say and I have to get ready for work so I am signing off for now. Look forward to any thoughts or comments dear reader!!

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