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A Letter from Canon Smalley | Service Updates

Dear Parish Family,

As I write, I am beginning to read through the lessons appointed for our All Saints’ service on November 7. The Gospel reading for that Sunday is Jesus’ raising of Lazarus, and the final words spoken are “Unbind him, and let him go” (John 11:44).

I am grateful to feel less bound as we resume a more regular routine of Sunday worship. We have a full complement of services, multiple offerings in Christian education, and more faces seen as we gather together. I am grateful to all, our staff and congregation, that we have weathered this together, and thank God for your flexibility and perseverance as he has shepherded us through this time.

Throughout global turmoil and transition we have reflected on the necessity, and the good news, that we are a shepherded people. We recognize our need of Jesus, our Good Shepherd, and we prayerfully seek his voice. This is continual, and I write to share that we will make an addition to our Sunday schedule beginning November 28, the first Sunday of Advent.

On that Sunday, our 9:00 a.m. service with blended music will transition to two concurrent 9:00 a.m. services. I am grateful that we have had the time together, and hope that we recognize the note sounded regularly throughout the Bible, that we need one another. Transitioning to two concurrent services will add to our breadth of worship expression. What will this look like?

> 9:00 a.m. in the Nave, music led by choir and organ
> 9:00 a.m. in the Refectory, music led by the band

There are multiple discernments that led to this move. The main one is our commitment to allow multiple platforms for the gospel to connect with people within our church and beyond. This will allow both services to flourish unbound, flow into Children’s Church together, and take place at a time that seems most resonant with our community. The Dean’s Class will continue in the Refectory each Sunday at 10:15. Liturgically, we are a bilingual congregation, and this allows people to worship in one or another expression on a given Sunday.

The same level of care and commitment will frame both. Each service will have the same liturgy and emphasis on the word of God proclaimed in all the fullness of its grace and truth. There will be differences in presentation and style, but not in substance. Our preachers will rotate between the services in the Refectory and the Nave, and with possible rare exception, one of the 9:00 a.m. services will always be a Holy Communion service. Typically, if it is communion in the Nave, it will be Morning Prayer in the Refectory and vice versa.

Unfortunately, with this move, our beloved breakfast will be on an indefinite hold. This is a real loss: I long-enjoyed the happy fellowship of Adventers of all ages, gathered each Sunday for breakfast. We know it was especially welcomed by families with young children, making it easier to get to church by 9:00 a.m. Though not the breakfast we are used to, we are working on ways we might be able to have something, especially for the children. 

We are grateful for and seek your continued partnership in the gospel. If you are able to come, I look forward to seeing you on a Sunday soon. 

The Lord be with you,

Craig

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