Entering Worship: Trying Something New

December 01, 2023

Dear Calvary,
   It is no surprise that our sanctuary is full of conversation and connection before the start of worship. There is a tremendous amount of energy and excitement about all that is happening at our church and people want to catch up with others they haven’t seen in a while.
   However, for those who want to enter the sanctuary a bit early and pray, or for those who want to listen closely to the opening prelude before worship, the conversations can distract from that focus or prayer. This is also true for our friends and guests worshiping on the livestream, as the microphones in the sanctuary pick up conversations and it is often the case that you hear that chatter on the livestream more than you do the music of the Prelude and Chiming of the Hour.
If you want to chat and catch up with fellow Calvary friends we welcome that, of course. We would like to try something new and invite you do that in Fellowship Hall or outside in the narthex (the ‘churchy word’ for lobby/entryway) before entering the sanctuary. Once you enter the doors of the sanctuary, we invite you to think of crossing a threshold into a holy, set apart space for connecting with God.
    Advent is a season of beginnings, so we invite you to try something new with us beginning this Sunday, December 3! For those worshipping in the sanctuary in person, we ask that you enter the sanctuary in silence in order to support our community members who wish to have a more contemplative experience before worship begins, and if you do need to talk with someone, to conclude your conversations before the prelude begins.
    We will continue to offer a time of conversation and connecting with those around you in the pew during the Welcome and Time of Greeting – so you will still have a chance to say hi to those near you during worship. And we know that there will always be some talking before worship; we are not trying to stop all communicating with one another or set a hard and fast rule. Rather, we want to draw your attention and awareness to the healing power of silence in community and to the need that many worshippers have to center themselves before worship. If you think about it, pretty much every other space in our church invites warm conversations and greetings and fellowship. But there are few spaces (perhaps just the sanctuary, Chapel, and Foot of the Cross Courtyard) where people come to sit in silence and have time for prayer and reflection.
    And–while we are trying new things–we have one more invitation for you to consider. For those worshipping in person, Advent could also be a time to try sitting a bit closer to the front of the sanctuary! Those worshipping online only see the people in front of the balcony overhang. It creates a warmer, fuller worship experience for all (in person and online and for those leading on the chancel) when we fill in the front pews first and sit closer together. We know that some people are coming to worship to heal and “be” and do not want to sit up front, and we honor that. We also respect that some need to social distance. We just encourage those who are in a season where you feel comfortable doing so – to move on up a few pews. Give it a try; you may really like it!
   Thank you for considering these invitations. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know; we are always seeking to grow in how we are Open to All, Closed to None.

‘Tis the season of beginnings and holy expectation,
- Pastor Anne, Pastor Morgan, Pastor Alice, & Dr. David Farwig

Category: Worship