From the Rector – Column 5

October 2, 2019

Dear friends,

Well, this week our worship space will be back to normal! Instead, we will have a wonderful Celtic Service to begin the Season of Creation Care, as has been our tradition for several years now. 

Thank you for all the feedback from the September 29 service. We had 48 note cards filled out this week. They reflected much of the same observations as last week’s feedback, but there were two new things I noticed. One was that several people said they liked the shorter lectern. Apparently our regular lectern is too tall for women and shorter people to read from comfortably, and the shorter lectern was much appreciated. Who knew! Something to think about as we plan for the future. 

Second, many people experimented with sitting in a different place, which was great. Those folks who moved around noticed it is much easier to hear in the front half of the church than in the back. It was noted that there is a lot more background noise in the back and it’s not all coming from the Soft Space. (Adults also like to chat a bit during church and mostly do this in the back.)  So, if you are feeling distracted by background noise or wanting to hear better, you could try your own experiment by sitting further up in the church.  

Overall, however, the comments were much the same as last week.:

  • Twenty-five people said the choir sounded better in the balcony, and three said they did not sound as good.
  • Seven continued the theme that the congregation misses seeing the choir, and several particularly noted it was disconcerting not to know who the soloist was. (It was Sam Stevens, by the way – great job, Sam!) 
  • Fourteen people this week said they preferred the closer, more intimate altar space and six said they did not care for it (similar to last week’s 9 to 3), especially because it made it more cramped and hard to see.
  • This week folks were tied about having the sermon from the floor – three loved it and three preferred sermons from the pulpit (compared to last week’s 8 to 3).
  • Lastly, people appreciated having the gold cross front and center. 

One thing that was wisely noted in the feedback was that doing worship differently demands different skills from your clergy and music director.  Preaching informally from the aisle is quite a different thing from preaching from the pulpit, and would take some practice to do well (it was definitely different for me!). Using electronic instruments and speakers asks our music director to have skills with that kind of equipment (and you probably noticed we had a bit of a malfunction on Sunday that Bernadette and Murray heroically overcame).

I’m particularly aware of this as I prepare for our next worship space experiment, as the worship committee suggested we use screens this time instead of paper bulletins.  It made me realize how accustomed the church staff is to our finely-honed bulletin production system. That is all going out the window for the last half of October as we instead are creating PowerPoint slide shows. It’s definitely a departure for me (thank goodness for Peggy’s skills and flexibility!) and probably something that would take some training and practice to do really well. Well, it’s an experiment! 

Next Worship Experiment

Our next worship experiment will be on October 20th at the 9:30 AM service. We will repeat it on October 27 at the Barbara Harris Camp retreat (but not at Redeemer, where Rev. Frank Fornaro will be presiding on October 27).  

Thanks again for your participation and feedback.