Worship is alive and well at Advent – and this is a good thing because worship is our primary function. When we worship God and acknowledge His blessings to us, we open ourselves to making him present in our lives and to loving him with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. And that supports us in loving our neighbors and caring for them. Worship is the foundation of our community.
We worship within the traditions of the Episcopal Church but those traditions allow us to offer three different types of services on Sunday morning to meet the needs of our diverse congregation. At 7:45 we have a quiet service using Rite I in the Book of Common Prayer. This service has the language and form that so many of us knew from the 1928 version of the service. At 8:45 we have a simple service with familiar hymns. The service contains all the essential elements of the Eucharistic Service, but is simplified to be accessible to our youngest members. Finally at 10:00 we offer a Festal Eucharist using Rite II and including hymns and anthems led by the choir. We are grateful to our clergy for providing this diversity.
We also recognize that our priests cannot provide the wonderful worship experiences by themselves. They need the support of many lay people to offer the full beauty found in our traditions. This includes the Altar Guild, acolytes, Eucharistic Ministers, readers, ushers, greeters, and the musicians. I estimate that during the program year about 40 lay volunteers participate in our services each Sunday.
In addition to the Sunday services, we have services on Holy Days that don’t fall on Sunday including Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. Our Lenten Suppers and Super Tuesday events include worship. The Eucharist is also celebrated at our senior communities once a month. We celebrate our new members in the service of Baptism and we make our farewells in burial and memorial services when a life is over. Worship weaves us together with God and each other. The more we come to worship together, the stronger the fabric of our community.
Bryan Bente, People’s Warden