Evening Worship at Chapel Hill
If you didn’t hear my sermon last Sunday, I urge you to do so. It sets the stage for all we are going to be doing in the weeks, months and even years to come. (Sermon) In sum, I spoke of my deepening sense of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus…and invited you all to join me in that deeper journey.
Part of that deeper journey has to do with worship. I had three very formative worship experiences during my sabbatical. In Brooklyn, we worshipped with an EPC church that meets in a Jewish synagogue. Although they are very evangelical, they also have the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. I was staying with the pastor and we got a chance to talk about this every morning over New York bagels (nummmm) and coffee. Then, in Oxford, we attended a very high church, very liturgical Evensong service. (Too liturgical for me, actually, but it was beautiful and informative.) The next day, we attended St. Aldates in the evening. Again, communion was served but in a much more contemporary setting.
These experiences of evening worship, more frequent sacrament, more opportunity for prayer, silence and elements of liturgy all spurred my thinking about what I might bring back to Chapel Hill. So, starting next Sunday, we are launching a ten week experiment on Wednesday nights called The Table. It will be a unique evening worship experience which, I hope, will be a gift to our members and friends who cannot regularly worship on Sunday mornings. But it will be different enough from Sunday morning that even those who attended on Sunday would be blessed, and will have the opportunity to participate and engage with what we are receiving from God’s word on Sunday morning.
The Table will meet around tables in the Gathering Place following our Wednesday meal. The mood will be warm and casual. Every experience will include music…but simple music…the Lord’s Supper, times for healing prayer with anointing and time in the Word. We will take the text from the previous Sunday…and go deeper. It will be a more casual and conversational approach to teaching led by me and the pastoral team. It will be as if you are participating in one of our worship Bible Studies where we plunge into the text to mine the riches of it together.
The Table will also be shorter than normal Wednesday activities, ending at 7:30… roughly. We hope this will make it easier for younger families to participate.
You’ll hear more about The Table this Sunday morning, but I am prayerful and hopeful that this new offering will be a blessing to the entire church, a different, deeper community experience of worship. Also this Sunday, we will feature an interview with Pastor Bill MacDonald… and as I keep saying, you are going to love this guy.
It is good to be back with you. May our work together make us better, more faithful disciples of Jesus.
P.S. Attention parents of elementary students at the 10:47 service! We will be dismissing our kids for their Sunday morning experience (CrossFIT, formerly the Surf Shop) earlier in our worship service than last year. Give yourselves enough time on Sunday morning to sign in, say hey to a friend, and be in your seats by 10:47!