We’ve been doing a lot of planning for the first Community Worship Service on September 11 (brynathynchurch.org/community). One of the things we’ve been talking about is how important the time after the worship service is.
Honestly, that time can be really hard for people. I heard that a lot in South Africa and I’ve also heard it here in Bryn Athyn—even if you’ve been part of the church or community for a long time it can still be hard. Who do you talk to? What do you talk about? Or maybe you’d love to stay and talk to other people but looking after your little kids means that it won’t actually be possible for you to have a real conversation.
This Community Worship Service has the potential to take things that might already be hard about the time after church and amplify them—a bigger group of people, more noise, more unknowns about what things will be like because it’s a new service. So it could be worse. Or maybe we can make it better?
We’re going to try some things to see if we can give that after church time a different feel. Maybe the children’s program won’t have a firm end time so that parents and grandparents can just go to where the kids have been and spend a bit of time there before heading for the refreshments. We’re thinking of offering some things to give the service the feel of a fair. There will be an optional tour of the masonry workshop, maybe a bit of live music, some tables with information about various things to get involved with at Bryn Athyn Church, some delicious food, maybe some optional ice-breaker stuff to make conversation starting a little easier.
Do you care about this? Do you have thoughts about how we could do after-church time better? True Christianity §301 says, “When the Lord came into the world,... the Sabbath day was turned into a day for instruction in divine things, for rest from labors, for meditating on things related to salvation and eternal life, and for loving our neighbor.” Reaching out to people in the time after church is one way that we can love our neighbor on the Sabbath day.
We don’t know yet exactly what we’ll end up doing in September but, whatever we do, we’ll learn from it and try to do a bit better at the next one in October. You can be a part of making it better, either by being part of the planning and implementation, or just by showing up on the 11th and having a conversation with one person you haven’t talked to before.