As we begin our regular fall routines I would like us to “try on” a new practice here at St. Barnabas. It is not new in many other contexts but just rather novel here. It involves how we gather to worship on Sunday mornings at 10:00 am.
As you no doubt have experienced some of us arrive a few moments before the service and are welcomed by our Greeters and then enter the church (specifically the Nave, the pews). Some arrive a little earlier and do much the same and take up a conversation with a friend either along the way or while seated. Some have arrived much earlier to sit in quiet contemplation. But in the end the overall effect is a conversational atmosphere before the service with a significant decibel level readily discernable. There is nothing wrong with that, in, and of itself. The difficulty that arises is that I, along with an increasing number of others, wonder if the Nave of the church is the best place for social interactions in the 10 minutes preceding the service.
Bearing that in mind it would be very interesting to experience what the church would be like in those final minutes before the service between 9:50 am and 10:00, if quiet were observed. Quiet that I hope would facilitate peaceful preparation before worship. This does not mean that the valuable and habitual conversations that many enjoy before the service need come to and end, they just might be better held in the Narthex; that lovely, bright and open space we have designed especially with greeting, welcoming, and sharing in mind. When the time comes the Greeters will let you know and invite you to enter the church a few moments before we begin our worship.
This is not something I have come up with on my own. It also a request from some members of our church who also would like to give it a try. Our Music Team will not rehearse before the service for the time being as a means of facilitating the effort.
So, over the next few weeks I will remind you of this change in the way we come together and hope that you will do your best to “try it on.” I would like the effort to extend to Advent in order that we make it a valid attempt and see what the response is like then. There are no penalties or sanctions involved, you will not be “shushed.” I simply see it as first foray into a possible means to further prepare and open our hearts to observe God’s presence in our midst. Let’s see…