A dusty road, at the seaside, and even in a boat. Yes, Jesus preached in the synagogue, but he was more frequently found sharing good news in outdoor settings which allowed him to connect with a variety of people. He spoke of God’s eternal love where people sat together for a meal, where people fished and mended nets, and where they drew water from the community well. Jesus met people in ordinary places and transformed lives with an extraordinary message of hope and healing.
Eighteen months of Covid has taught us that the church is not the building, and that physical distance does not necessarily mean spiritual distance. We have found sacred space on Zoom, shared prayers through a facebook chat, and delighted in outdoor sanctuaries. We have connected even when we could not gather in person. We have found that on-demand virtual worship can have a broad geographical draw.
Covid has expanded our concept of where worship takes place and as we enter into the fall, Dr. Marcia McFee, renowned worship designer encourages us to reflect on the pandemic experience:
- What have we learned?
- What do we want to bring forward?
- What cancellations do we actually celebrate?
She also urges congregations to continue to experiment with worship in these ways:
- Sanctuary enhancement- Adapt or shift your space to match the size of the group. Find ways to amplify togetherness, such as sitting in a circle to see faces and create a sense of unity.
- Community connections- Continue to stream or post worship services so that those who are vulnerable to Covid can remain connected. Hold outdoor events as weather permits, or invite guests from local non-profits to share their ministry goals and needs.
- Rhythmic flexibility- Worship does not to be confined to a Sunday morning time slot. Provide a menu of options, including open house hours for self-guided worship, or posts and podcasts that can be accessed on demand.
We are pleased to announce that SNEUCC has contracted with Dr. McFee to offer her “Advent-ure Design Camp” beginning on October 3. Register your worship team for this six week learning series to help you create a meaningful Advent program. (see details below)
SNEUCC staff seeks to provide support for clergy, faith formation leaders, music directors, tech deacons, and all who create worship offerings. To that end, we share these resources:Programs and Resources
- Advent-ure Design Camp with Marcia McFee- Use this link to register your group for this six- week program. Register before October 3 to participate. It will be a mix of webinars and self-paced learning that will walk you through the steps of designing a worship series for Advent-- from choosing a theme, to engaging the worship arts, to getting help from your worship team and volunteers.
- Implementing Intergenerational Worship- Faith Formation Team presents a webinar with Rebecca Stevens Walter on Thursday, October 28. Registration is now open.
- Practical Resources for Churches (PRC) curated resources on a variety of worship themes and webinars, including a Small Church series.
- Digital Ministry- SNEUCC staff member, Eric Elley provides tech support for hybrid and online worship.
- Worship and Spirituality Resources – this section of our Make Disciples page of the SNEUCC website has links to multimedia and lectionary resources, including UCC Worship Ways.
Stay tuned for information about virtual worship offerings for these special dates:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on January 17, 2022
- Good Friday on April 15, 2022
Can you recommend a gifted musician or local composer? Is there someone in your congregation who has video skills? Interested in creating liturgy for conference worship? Fill out this brief questionnaire to help us build a network of creative worship leaders.
Debby Kirk is the Faith Formation Team Leader of the Southern New England Conference. She serves on the Faith Formation Team and oversees the Youth and Young Adult Ministries programs of the Conference. She organizes leadership development programs ...