RECAP from the TOWN HALL MEETING on JULY 8th:
Praise Service to move into sanctuary
Town hall meeting details new worship schedule starting August 19
At St. John’s town hall meeting Sunday Pastor Eric Waters and Congregation President Scott Kramer expounded on the plan for a new worship schedule with the goal of growing the church’s membership. The church council, led by a strategic planning committee, developed the schedule, which moves the praise service into the sanctuary, sets a 10:45 a.m. start time for the late traditional service, and reestablishes the family life center as a venue for church fellowship while offering a safe and inclusive space for Sunday school children in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Beginning August 19 all three worship services will take place in the sanctuary with Sunday school options offered in the family life center and the education wing:
8:00 am: Early Traditional Service
9:15 am: Sunday School
9:30 am: Praise Service
10:45 am: Late Traditional Service
Citing a need for St. John’s pastors to remain present during all services in their entirety, Pastor Waters said he believes moving the praise service into the sanctuary will increase that service’s attendance. The move also will allow the family life center to function as originally intended, that is, providing a place for fellowship, recreation, and education in an informal setting.
After the early service adults and children of all ages will be welcomed into the family life center for a light breakfast of juice, coffee, and pastries. As a key initiative from the planning committee, this ‘morning manna’ opportunity is expected to bear good fruit: strengthening relationships among current members and appealing to a new generation of prospective, younger members who can better connect while lingering over coffee and snacks in a friendly and nonjudgmental atmosphere.
Following the time of fellowship, members will have choices. The younger children may stay in the family life center for Sunday school activities, crafts, and learning. Adults and the junior and senior high youth may attend regular Sunday school classes, which will convene in classrooms on both floors of the education wing. Or, adults and children of all ages may opt to attend the praise service.
The plan to move the children’s Sunday school classes from the buildings across Turner Avenue was fueled by the perception that the youth were far removed from the heart, soul, and hub of the church. During the town hall meeting Pastor Waters related a comment he recently received from a prospective new member. The young mom said that one key reason her family would not join St. John is that the children’s building across the street is “dank, dark and distant”.
Most members attending Sunday’s town hall meeting were positive and optimistic, as well as thankful to the church council and the planning committee for their work on the project. One member commented that as much as Lutherans do not like change, the congregation should keep a positive attitude and give the new schedule a chance.
Other comments and questions dealt with details such as changes in the altar guild procedure, the practice schedule for the choir, and the setup of the praise band equipment.