At our Annual Meeting this past March, our Steering Committee announced that we had just finalized a five-year extension of our facility sharing partnership here at 22 Willow. We also mentioned that St. John’s was exploring an amalgamation with two other Lutheran churches, and we acknowledged some uncertainty about how this would affect us down the road. This fall, the amalgamation will be finalized with the churches joining together as of October 7 as “Trillium Lutheran Church.”
Back in the spring, one of the areas that St. John’s asked to re-visit once the amalgamation process was underway was the timing of our respective Sunday morning services. Since we moved to 22 Willow, St. John’s has gathered in two separate services: a smaller service at 9:00am in the Chapel and the main service at 11:00am in the Sanctuary. Over the past couple of weeks, members of our Staff and Steering Committee have been in dialogue with the leadership of St. John’s discussing their interest in holding only one Sunday service and doing so during an earlier time slot to accommodate their changing membership needs.
As a result, starting on Sunday, October 7, we will be “flipping” service times, with the new Trillium congregation meeting in the Sanctuary at 9:00am and our Elevation community gathering at 11:00am.
On a relational level, the leadership of Trillium expressed deep gratitude for our willingness to be flexible with their needs and for the spirit of cooperation that guided our conversation. We believe that demonstrating our commitment to genuine partnership will lay the foundation for a healthy, long-term relationship with the new congregation, which is a significant priority for us.
For our Elevation community, this will certainly require some changes in our routines! We’re sure that many people will enjoy the opportunity to sleep in, while others may anticipate the pinch of having a later start time flow into the lunch hour. Our Staff team is working creatively to make the most of this change and we’d like to share just a couple of our early ideas with those of you who are involved on Sunday mornings.
Music: We will have a much shorter window to set-up for our service, so we will be purchasing some new equipment (such as a digital sound board and in-ear monitors) to allow for a more streamlined pre-service routine. We will also be storing equipment along the sides of the stage.
Food: We don’t want our kiddos to go hungry, so we are exploring ways to boost our Kids’ Quest snack time to provide more nutrition in their little bellies, meaning that parents won’t have to worry about rushing home to feed them lunch. And of course, grown-ups like to eat as well, so we’re planning on having a monthly post-service potluck…oh yeah!
Services: Most of what happens on a Sunday morning will remain the same, including our Kids’ Quest classes. We will still have Discussion Groups following the sermon (12:00-12:30), and are also considering adding pre-service options for those who would rather get started earlier. Also, without a need to rush out of the sanctuary, we will be able to ‘linger’ on occasion in this beautiful space.
Visitors: One of the opportunities that we believe a later start time provides is in our ability to see people who don’t attend church find a home with us at Elevation. The same could be said for students and others for whom getting up early on a Sunday morning is not all that appealing!
We are drawing on the fantastic team of people who put their gifts to use on Sunday mornings to help make the most of this change and to take the lead on implementing new ideas. We are all ears at this stage, so please let us know what you think and bring your own creativity to the table!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there so little notice being given before things change?
The congregations coming together as Trillium have a lot on their plates right now and their initial request to for this change came just a few short weeks ago. Members of our Staff and Steering Committee met with their representatives on September 12 and things have been moving at a quick pace since then. The reason for starting October 7 is that this is when Trillium will begin to meet together as one church and they requested that, if at all possible, we make the time change on this date.
What kind of snacks will be provided in the Kids’ Quest classes?
We’ve had someone step up to help us craft a rotating menu of nutritious and more substantial snacks for our little ones, so we’ll be able to share those details soon. On the weeks when we have a community potluck, children will be dismissed at 12:15, so there will not be snacks on those mornings.
Is this a permanent time change?
Well, it’s permanent for now 🙂 Of course we can’t be certain about what lies ahead, but we expect that this adjustment will be for the long term.
Are there more volunteers needed?
We’re glad you asked! For sure we will need some extra hands to help with preparing our kids’ snacks, and there are bound to be some other gaps to fill along the way. A church is like a body, where all of the parts need to work together well. If this time change means you might be more available to help out on a Sunday morning, please drop us a line and we’ll be happy to talk to you about how you can help us create a spiritually stimulating environment at Elevation!