Sundays this Summer

Sundays really matter. That’s one conviction we’ve articulated in this year’s work of envisioning the future at St Luke. What’s behind this conviction? First, we know how busy people are, “stretched” into every corner of LA. Many people can’t make midweek church activities. Obviously, members as well as visitors interested in St Luke are more likely to come for worship than anything else.
Second, and most importantly, Sundays matter because of what we do and celebrate together, “the feast of victory for our God:” we hear the scriptures proclaimed, celebrate baptism, pray for loved ones, make music, collect for the hungry, share the peace and the Lord’s supper, have fellowship, Sunday School. In these activities – as we say in our mission statement – we “welcome all to share the joy of faith in Jesus Christ,” and find ways to “extend God’s love and compassion.”

This Summer, there are two ways we hope to enrich our Sundays:

First, for thirteen weeks – from June 10th to September 2nd – instead of the usual two worship services, there will be one Sunday service at 9:30am. Going from two services to one may sound like “cutting back,” and indeed, we want musicians, altar guild and others to have a little less to do. But I look forward to the experience. Both our 8:30 and our 10:45 services have been evolving – not to fit any pre-determined category (“contemporary” or “traditional”) but organically – as we seek to lift up the gifts of children and adults, guitarists or flautists. Now, as in the Christmas concert, pageants, Holy Week services – we “join forces.” Our hope is that both 8:30 and 10:45 services to be richer in music and practice when we go back to two services in the fall. For more about the planned format of the 9:30 service, see below …

There’s a second way we are growing into making Sundays matter. A small group has come together to lead us into some discussions on our worship space. Why? A number of issues and worship changes: the choir no longer using the loft, the need to think about the future of the organ – which is no longer in good shape – and where a possible new organ would be placed, maintenance issues with the linoleum; accessibility to chancel / altar area, etc… Rather than take these issues one by one, we decided it would be best for us to look at the big picture. While we’re at it, we can carry forward some of our learning from adult forums these past several years, on renewing worship and sacred art. What does our space communicate? How does God promise to meet us there? What are the powerful experiences that we’ve had in the sanctuary that we want to build on?
There will be two phases two “phases” to begin this work. First, thee will be a time of learning and looking at the situation. Sybil Buff, Janis Hatlestad, Lynn Gertenbach and myself will seek to solicit your insights in discussion at Sunday forums and consult with musicians, children, visitors, former members, altar guild, property folks. Only after we have spent some time thinking will we begin coming up with proposals.
We have created a page where you can follow along and join in on the conversation: stlukeworshipspace.wordpress.com. One easy way to access this site is by going to our website, click “online newsletter,” then “worship space” in the upper right hand corner.

Summer worship will be at 9:30am, June 10th through September 2nd

8:45am rehearsal for the musicians
9:30-10:30 worship
10:30 coffee hour in the fellowship hall
10:45 some rehearsals for next week’s music
10:45 forums on worship space most Sundays (see front page article)

What’s it going to be like? The order of service will be familiar to all. We’re choosing some music that will be familiar to 8:30 and to 10:45 participants, and introducing some new music. The style, you could say, is “Summer.” The approach isn’t so much to include “a little this and a little that” so much as appealing music of diverse style that really fits together.
Expect a learnable weekly pattern of music that’s South African, Scandinavian, American Gospel, and Celtic, – with multiple instruments – along with special music and hymns that connect to the scripture readings: stories of Jesus from the Gospel of Mark – about his healing, calming the sea, sending out his disciples –and about prophets like Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Amos and Elisha; the feeding of the five thousand and Jesus as the “bread of life.”

How can I help? One goal is to involve many musicians. If you haven’t tried music before, or been able commit to a music group during the year, this is a great way to try it out! You can commit even to just one Sunday – help to lead singing, play an instrument. We’ll be having special rehearsals to introduce to the music the first two Wednesday evenings in June. On the Sundays when you’re “on” you just show up a little early to rehearse, and if possible, also after worship the week before.

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