Worship at Vine Street

Vine Street’s Worship Task Group finished the first phase of their work and presented their report to the Board of Elders. Congratulations, Kathy Berhow, Pat Cole, Sarah Ligon, Stephen Moseley, Greg Rumburg, and thank you! Thomas Kleinert was the convener of the group.

The Elders heard and discussed the report at their June 14 meeting, and recommended that we implement all proposed changes. What does this mean?

When we began The Journey process, it soon became clear that we wanted to take a close look at our worship services. In the story that draws us into what we have identified as God’s future for  Vine Street (the story we commonly refer to as our future story), we call for worship services that “each have a clear profile. Each has its own unique format, but all of them are also clearly us.”

We will continue to look at our Sunday morning worship services as events that give focus to our community’s Sunday morning gatherings (in addition, of course, to the rest of our week): God’s hospitality to all at the Table implies that we show hospitality to all, and not only after they have crossed the threshold to the chapel or the sanctuary. This, of course, has significant consequences for what we do before and after worship – but more about that soon.

What will change? We will continue to have two services on Sunday morning, a service at 8:30am in the chapel and a service at 10:45am in the sanctuary.

In the chapel service, we will build on the sense of intimacy and informality it has developed over time. We will remove the remaining pews to allow worshipers to see each other face to face, and encourage a more conversational style “in the round.” We will explore new ways of preaching, praying, and sharing the meal around the table. These changes will be introduced in the near future, but not in the summer.

In the sanctuary service, we will follow an order that maintains the current overall structure (gathering, listening, giving thanks, and being sent), while improving flow and disrupting patterns of too much predictability. Many of the recommended changes will be introduced beginning July 4:

We replace the Passing of the Peace with an informal greeting at the very beginning of the service.

We move the Scripture reading that is the basis for the Children’s Conversation, so the children can hear it with the rest of the congregation. Occasionally, we use a very child-friendly translation or story-telling instead of reading from the New Revised Standard Version (which is our standard version).

Service leaders occasionally introduce elements of the service (“this is why we do this, this is what we are doing here”) without becoming overly didactic.

We continue to select music of various styles that support the flow and fit the thematic structure of the service, and we include as much special music (sometimes harp, sometimes trumpet or viola or guitar or…) as we can.

We will begin to introduce these changes on July 4, and we invite your comments in person and at www.vinestreet.org/worship-feedback