Sunday, June 25th marks the first Sunday of our summer worship schedule, with services at 8:00am and 9:30 am (instead of our usual 10:30), with breakfast for all beginning at 8:30. Summer is a more relaxed time at Grace. With no after-church meetings, the Choir and Church School off, and many parishioners away on vacation, it is a smaller, quieter group that allows for more intimate worship. Here’s what you can expect during our summer services:
Instead of the Gloria which we sing for most of the year (“Glory to God in the highest,”) we will sing two different simple Songs of Praise, one for the first half of the summer, and another for the second.
Children in Worship
Please know that Nursery care will continue for children three and younger during the summer. For older children, summer is a good time to be in the “big church!” With fewer folks, there’s a bit less going on, and the service is a little shorter. Consider sitting up front where children can see the altar area better, and don’t worry if children don’t seem to be “paying attention” as they color or read books from the children’s library in the back—they are often more attuned to what is being done and said than you might think! Also, our lovely Playground gets a bit lonely in the summer—why not bring a small person to play on it after church??
Great Stories of the Hebrew Bible
We use the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) in the Episcopal Church, a reading schedule of lessons on a three-year cycle. Beginning last Sunday, we started hearing stories of the patriarch Abraham, his wife Sarah and concubine Hagar, the birth of his sons Ishmael and Isaac, Isaac’s marriage to Rebekah and the birth of the twins Jacob and Esau; Jacob’s dream of the ladder to heaven; sections of the story of Jacob’s son Joseph, sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers, and then finally the birth of Moses, in the time after Joseph when the Israelites had become slaves in Egypt. (Whew!) I am looking forward to preaching on these rich and foundational lessons. The saga continues each week!
Hymns: Creator/Creation, Communion, and Old Favorites!
Heather and I have decided to include one hymn praising God the Creator and the beauty of creation, and one Eucharistic (Communion) hymn each week. The Creator/Creation hymns are a mix of old standards and newer hymns. Our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has called on us to increase our actions and awareness around care of the environment, and this is one way we will answer his call. With the Choir off for the summer, we have space to sing a Communion hymn each week—this is one of my favorite sections of the hymnal, and I’m excited to sing through it! We will end the service with a favorite hymn submitted to Heather from the sign-up sheet in the hallway.
A Little More Piano
Heather can add some steps to her Fitbit count, moving back and forth between organ and piano, which we will hear more of this summer!
The Psalm and the Prayers
We will speak the Psalm this summer, rather than singing it. This is a favorite practice of some folks, so enjoy! We will also use a traditional form of the Prayers of the People, Form VI in the Book of Common Prayer, which includes differing responses from the congregation.
The Eucharistic Prayer will be Prayer 1 from the Anglican Church of Canada’s Book of Alternative Services (which, despite it’s name, is the main Canadian prayer book). This Eucharistic prayer remembers the ancestors in faith we will hear about in the first lesson, and reminds us that we are part of the story of the whole People of God, beginning with Abraham.
So when you’re in town, please join us, as we say in Godly Play, for the “Great Green Growing Time” of the season after Pentecost, and come away refreshed and ready to start your week!