Community Worship Services

A new monthly opportunity for the whole community to come together for one service to worship the Lord.

What to Expect

Time

The service will start at 10am. There will be prelude music from 9:40am. We recommend coming a bit early to have a chance to find a seat and get settled. The whole service will probably last about 45 minutes.

Where Should I Park?

We are reserving the parking close to the Cathedral for the elderly so, if you are able-bodied, please park in the lots across the street below Glencairn and Cairnwood Mansion.

Format of the Service

This worship service will follow a similar format to the services offered by many General Church congregations around the world—starting with a children’s talk, then an interlude at which time children go to organized activities in different rooms, and then teens, parents and grandparents stay for an adult talk.

Children Will Come Forward for Their Talk

Children will be invited to come sit closer to the chancel during their talk so that they can be closer to the minister to be able to see visual aides, answer questions, and just be in a special and different part of the church. There will be extra mats on the floor to make things more comfy. Parents are welcome to come forward and sit with their children on the floor or in the choir stalls nearby.

If you have young children, please don't worry about your children making noise or being wiggly. We want you and your children at the service. We hope that you'll try bringing them forward for the children's talk and, if you decide that it's just not working to have them up there on a particular day, there are plenty of easy ways to discreetly take your kids out of that area.

We will be reserving the first few rows of the church for families with young children so that it's easier for you to bring your children forward for their talk.

What will the children do during the adult talk?

After the children's talk children will be invited to go to the council chamber and undercroft (areas of the cathedral beyond the main church space) to pick from a range of supervised activities. Children will be divided up by activity instead of by age-group. The activities are still being finalized but will likely include music, crafts, or more active outside play.

If your child is younger than 5, we will not be able to look after them for you at the service in September. We hope to be able to look after them for you at a future Community Worship service. You are invited to bring them to the children's activities areas and help them participate as much as they would like to. You can also make your own private arrangements with a grandparent or friend to look after your children under 5 for you during that part of the service.

What will happen after the service?

We're hoping that the time after the service will feel a bit like a fair. Please collect your children from the Council Chamber and Undercroft and then come get some refreshments in the social hall or outside in the cloister (assuming the weather is good). There will be live music and tours of the masonry workshop and tours of the organ on offer. The loft above the Social Hall will be open for high-school age and up to use as a place to hangout after the service. Read Malcolm's reflections on "The Importance of What Happens After a Worship Service".

Who is invited?

Everyone—children, teens, adults, seniors, newcomers.

What should I wear?

The minister will be wearing a robe but people are free to wear whatever they feel comfortable in. Some of our regular attendees like to dress up to come to church; others like to come in more comfortable clothing. Whatever you choose to wear, there will probably be someone else wearing something similar.

What COVID protocols will be in place?

Face coverings (masks) are now optional for all our services. We will have a designated area in the church (back-right if you're facing the Word) for people who wish to mask and only be around other people masking.

Any other questions?

If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to call (215 947 6225) or email us (liza.hyatt@brynathynchurch.org).

How to Get Involved

This service will have many opportunities to get involved in helping to make it a rich community worship experience. Here are some of the areas we will need help with:

  • Greeters – helping people find what they are looking for
  • Snacks contributions, set-up and clean-up
  • Supervisors and assistants for children’s’ activity “stations” – mixed ages
  • Musicians to sing with children
  • Art/craft projects leadership, set-up and clean-up
  • Discussion leaders
  • Families to help with chancel set-up, ushering, etc.
  • Maybe more, as plans get clarified

Please contact Nina at nina.dewees@brynathynchurch.org or 215-947-6225 ext.206 to learn more and describe where you would most like to volunteer.

We look forward to how this new church service will blossom into worship that will serve many people together.

Upcoming Community Worship Service Dates

  • September 11th
  • October 23rd
  • January 22nd
  • February 19th
  • March 19th
  • May 21st

There aren’t Community Worship services offered in November, December, April, or June because we will already be gathering as a whole congregation in that month for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or New Church Day.

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The Vision for Trying a New Service - Rev. Derek Elphick

After consulting with my staff, board and Pastor’s Council, and receiving enthusiastic support for trying this new initiative (a one-year experiment), I am excited to offer the Bryn Athyn Church community a new worship service beginning in September. This will be advertised as the “Community Worship” service, which will be held once a month from September through June in our beautiful Cathedral at 10:00 am. It will be the only Bryn Athyn Church worship service offered for that day.

What is the rationale?

One of the long-standing traditions (and strengths) of the Bryn Athyn Church congregation is the variety of worship offerings on any given Sunday -- Informal Service at 9:20 am; Young Children’s Church at 10:00 am; Family Service at 9:30 am; and Adult Service at 11:00 am. This new, once-a-month Community Worship is not intended to replace these services but is instead, designed to add a new dimension by gathering the congregation together more frequently than Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and New Church Day.

Back in the day, our worship offerings served large numbers of people. Today we average 75 or below for each service. This Community Worship service will be an attempt to gain back a sense of belonging, a sense of identity, a sense of community for you, the Bryn Athyn congregation. We live in a fractured, siloed society, breaking off into small groups, doing our own thing, not tending to mix with each other. This new offering is a small, humble attempt to reverse that trend a little.

What is my hope?

I hope these Community Worship services generate a similar feel to our festival services where the singing is just that much stronger, the mood is just that much happier because, despite our differences, we have come together as one to worship and give thanks to the Lord. There is strength in numbers, a beautiful reminder that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.

Live-streaming & Connecting Online

The Community Worship Services will be live-streamed for those who cannot attend in person. Go to https://boxcast.tv/channel/dqrmtrqnnjef3ur7gswb or click on the upcoming service video block below.

After the service there will be a chance to connect on Zoom with other people who watched the service. It will be at 11:00 am and will last for about an hour. This is the group that normally meets on Zoom to discuss the Informal Family Service. All are welcome. Join the meeting using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88119217055 or this meeting ID: 88119217055