From the Council President: 2023 Fall Worship Schedule

Recently Council discussed looking at the current Worship and Sunday School schedule and discussed its relevance with regards to the congregation’s needs and wishes, as well as the current state of society coming out of the Covid pandemic. It was decided that it was an issue that needed to be presented so that members of the congregation could be given the opportunity to have a voice and share opinions. The topic was discussed at two consecutive Adult Forums, which were well attended. All those present were given the opportunity to speak up and be heard. As the moderator for these discussions, I can attest that this was obviously an important issue and one that was taken seriously. 

It was explained that the current worship schedule was constructed to be as inclusive as possible for our congregants. The 8:30 service was designed to be a shorter, spoken in-person service, held outside (weather permitting), and which further allowed for masking and social distancing when held in the sanctuary. For those who were less concerned with social distancing and masking, a full service with music was constructed to be attended at 10:15. After discussions with the parents of our youth and Sunday School staff, a Sunday School schedule was constructed to run from 9:15 to 10:00. The overall current schedule appeared to meet the needs of our members and work within the existing pandemic confines as we began to see the light at the end of the Covid tunnel.

After hearing from people at the Adult Forums and speaking with others over coffee around the building, several ideas were put forth and generated a lot or conversation. One of the first opinions brought to the discussion was to return to two full worship services every Sunday. And as much as everyone agreed that ideally it would be great to be in a position to do that, we just don’t have enough people logistically to do it. After the discussions at forums, and informal discussions around the building, it was learned that the overwhelming majority of people agreed that the current schedule was working, although it could use some minor tweaking. Many people expressed that 10:15 was an odd and confusing time for the second service. It was also observed that the current Sunday School schedule was successful and should not be tampered with in any major fashion. There was also a lot of discussion regarding the Adult Forum schedule and its attendance levels. One major point with regards to this topic was choir members inability to attend due to choir rehearsal on Sunday morning.  

Fall worship schedule

So after hearing from as many people as possible, and some serious introspection and discussion by Council, the following worship and Sunday school schedule was constructed and will be implemented in September of 2023:

  • Early Service: 8:30 Abbreviated, spoken service with communion
  • Sunday School: 9:30-10:15
  • Adult Forum: 9:30-10:15
    As of right now AF will be held one Sunday per month. This may change as attendance levels and choir rehearsal needs are assessed.
  • Second Service: 10:30 Full service with music and communion

It should be noted that worship services will continue to be streamed and available to be viewed online.

I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who took the time to express their opinions and provide input. My hope is that St. Matthew’s continues to be inclusive and provide the spiritual opportunity to allow our members to comfortably attend services in person or online.

—Tom Campbell