Dear Hope Family,
Almost-end-of-summer greetings to you all!
As we look to the horizon of the quickly approaching fall “semester” of life and ministry together as Hope Church, I am eager to share with you the first of several communications about the direction and focus of our worship and discipleship for this next season. In some senses the easiest path would be to publish a new schedule with updated times for gatherings and the slate of offerings, and let it roll; however, the elders and I desire to invite you all into something more profound and consequential than an updated schedule.
We are all still reorienting from the valley of the shadow of the pandemic, and some of the casualties of our life together were meaningful and consistent places for connection and meaningful and consistent avenues for spiritual formation and growth in grace. Foremost among those who went without are our children and youth – some of whom have never attended a worship class, Sunday School, or been inside the Education Building because of the disruption from the pandemic.
Our priority as elders for the summer months was to re-establish a regular rhythm of worship and connection on Sunday mornings. The two services have each grown in number with an encouraging flow of guests and newcomers to Hope. The ministry of Hope Café between the services indoors, and even as it spilled out into the courtyard and onto the playground, has been instrumental in making room for the connection and relationship that we sorely missed for a long season. The two services, while not ideal, have accommodated and enabled growth during a time in which many, many churches have experienced the exact opposite: significant contraction.
For the fall, then, our priority is to capitalize upon the momentum of worship and life together so that we can make room once again for Christian education and formation for all ages but especially our children and youth. In order to make good on that value and priority, we need to adjust our current rhythm of worship so that we can dedicate quality time on Sunday morning for Sunday School with nothing competing against it. Very practically, that requires moving our first service earlier and pushing the start time of the second service later in order to carve out 45 minutes of devoted Sunday School time each week. We are making plans to re-create the hospitality and connection points of Hope Café within the Sunday Schools themselves so we don’t lose that ground we have reclaimed.
The schedule will be:
Worship Service – 8:30 to 9:45
Sunday School – 10:00 to 10:45
Worship Service – 11:00 to 12:15
As we get acclimated to the new schedule, childcare through the Nursery and Children’s Worship Classes will remain the same. Worship Classes will be offered during the first service, Nursery for both services, and the hope and possibility for expansion in the future.
Our goal is to launch this new schedule on September 11, 2022.
If you have questions, please let me or the elders know. Please remember that this is just the first of several communications we will provide in anticipation of these renewed opportunities for growth in worship and discipleship.
Lastly, I am (painfully) aware that any change is a disruption we would often rather not experience, and change is often met with fear and experienced as a loss. Change always calls for patience, mercy, kindness, and faithfulness. We are all in this together, and we are trusting Jesus to lead us in this change as our King Eternal who is building Hope Church and our Good Shepherd who loves us!
Grace and peace,