I am writing to you with an important update regarding our Sunday morning services as well as a few requests for you as we embark on a change together as a church family.
As many of you have probably noticed, there is a significant imbalance in attendance between the 9am and the 11am services. It has become increasingly difficult for people to find seats together at the 9am service. Parking has also become an obstacle. Recently, a few newcomers have left after being unable to find a parking space or a seat, which is incredibly sad to see. Furthermore, our children’s classrooms suffer from overcrowding at the 9am service, creating a difficult situation for our families and our RezKids shepherds. These realities have been steadily increasing over the past two years, and the 9am service now regularly exceeds the 11am service by 400 people.
Over the past 18 months, we have been engaged in an ongoing discussion with staff, vestry, clergy, and lay leaders about the best way to serve all of our people and especially our guests with our schedule, including the Sunday Service Survey that many of you completed last year. As a result of this process, we have decided to change our service times beginning Sunday, October 1. The new times will be 8:30am and 10:30am. We will be carefully evaluating this new schedule to see if it sufficiently addresses our attendance imbalance. Based on what we learn during the coming months, we will come to a final decision on service times by the season of Advent (December 3).
Here is what I’m asking of you during this season, Resurrection family:
- Embrace this small sacrifice
We are all being called to make adjustments to our Sunday routines for the sake of the whole body of Christ. I am asking that you serve our guests, our children, and one another this season by making the small sacrifices necessary to adjust to these service times.
I am especially aware that our Sunday morning team members will be making a sacrifice, as so many of you already arrive well before the start of the service. I am so grateful for all the ways you already serve our guests, our children, and our entire church body. Thank you for adjusting your commitments as we try this out together. Your team leader will be working with you closely as these changes occur.
- Try both service times in October
As you are able, experiment attending both the 8:30am and 10:30am in the first month. This will help our process and help you discover the best fit for you and your family.
- Increase your hospitality and generosity
As it is already in your nature as a church, I simply ask you to redouble your efforts to be generous and hospitable to newcomers and to one another during this change. Keep an eye out for newcomers and offer assistance whenever possible. Do everything you can to share seats and parking spaces with one another. In every interaction, seek to follow Jesus’ example in serving one another.
If you are a member of a Sunday morning team, your leader will be connecting with you to receive your continued feedback during this process. For our parents, information will be sent out by our RezKids Team regarding check-in procedures and other impacts on families in a RezKids email, and our Children’s Pastor Carole Seid (firstname.lastname@example.org) will be your primary contact for questions and feedback.
Finally, as always for everyone, if you have questions or concerns, you can reach out to us at email@example.com.
With love and gratitude,
Bishop Stewart Ruch III
Rector, Church of the Resurrection
Bishop, Upper Midwest Diocese