Last fall, Good Shepherd experimented with the Sunday morning worship schedule in order to create more time in between the two Sunday morning services for our different music groups to rehearse. The first Sunday service was moved from 7:45 am to 7:30 am, and the second service was moved from 9:45 am to 10:00 am.
After a nine-month trial period, in response to concerns from several first-service regular attenders, the “Celebrate” worship and music leadership team has decided to move the start time for the first service back to 7:45 beginning Sunday, May 6. Even though the start time for the first service was at 7:30 for many years, several parishioners felt that the earlier 7:30 time made it very difficult for them to get to church, especially on cold winter mornings.
Several parishioners have asked why the first service couldn’t be moved even later to 8:00 am, since that is a traditional time at many Episcopal Churches, and, also, why the second service couldn’t be moved sometime later than 10:00 am. There many different components of planning our worship schedule and, in discussing this schedule change, the Celebrate Team had to take into account several different issues.
First, starting the first service at 8:00 am and keeping the second service at 10:00 am wouldn’t allow enough time for both the choir and the contemporary music group to rehearse prior to the second service (the first service normally lasts for 70-75 minutes). In addition, this would leave only 30-35 minutes for Sunday morning adult education. Regarding moving the start of the second service later than 10 am, the one consistent comment we have received over the years from families with young children (and pretty much everyone else as well) is that they need to leave for home by 11:30 at the latest.
The members of the Celebrate team realize that it’s always a challenge to create a Sunday worship schedule that meets everyone’s needs and wants. This is especially true in a congregation like Good Shepherd that has a history of offering three different worship services on Sundays.
Fortunately, parishioners have always been open to changes when it comes to worship scheduling, and, once a new Rector is called, the Sunday morning schedule will probably be open again for consideration. But, for the time being, the first service will return to 7:45 am, which seems to work the best for most people.
If you attend the first service, be sure to mark your calendars for May 6, when this service will return to its former 7:45 time.