Friday, May 16, 2014

Various Updates

This post provides updates on a couple of recent essays.

In my post “Indifference to Details,” I complained about the automatic door to the parking lot’s being turned off more often than not. This was the case last night when I went to church for choir rehearsal. I mentioned my concern to Jeff Dunbar, a Vestry member, who agreed to take up the matter with Dorothy. Stay tuned.

The Worship Commission met this week, and the matter of the summer schedule was raised. I don’t know that all my concerns, as expressed in “Sabbatical,” were brought up, but many certainly were. (Disclaimer: I did not attend the meeting, but I spoke with a couple of people who did.) A combination of deference to the absent rector and concern that a combined principal service would please nobody resulted, unsurprisingly, in no change to the schedule. (When the cat’s away, obsequiousness still holds sway.)

It never occurred to me that a combined principle service would retain elements of the 8:45 service. Instead, I saw it as an opportunity for the two congregations to get to know one another and for the 8:45 people to get a sense of what a traditional Episcopal service (and the prayer book and hymnal) looks like. There is good reason to believe that many 8:45 worshipers attend that service primarily for its time, brevity, and convenience with respect to Sunday School, rather than for the shape of the liturgy. Of course, we never ask people about their preferences as a way of determining how to satisfy them.

Given that we are unlikely to poll parishioners about their likes or dislikes, I would like to propose an experiment. This could be done at any time, but during the program year would be best. My experiment would require a little tweaking of the schedule, though not much. Switch the content of the 8:45 and 10:45 services, that is, have the traditional Episcopal service at 8:45 instead of at 10:45. My hypothesis is that, after a time, attendance at 8:45 would be substantial and attendance at 10:45 would be meager. What do you think?

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