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Source: (consider it) Thread: What puts you off from setting foot inside a church?
Gamaliel
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Yeah, my kids were ok with the actions and so on up to a point but after that point was reached ...

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LutheranChik
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I thought of this thread yesterday as we were driving through the university town next to us. There's a church, located in lan old supermarket building, that used to be called Victory Christian Fellowship, but now the sign simply says VICTORY. Its trademark, for lack of a better term, is a shield bearing a lion's head, half white, half black...that's on all their properties and advertising. There's also a youth division callled "Ignite." The website seems like standard crypto-Baptist, but I find the iconography unnerving. When I see the building I expect black-shirted fascists to come marching out, torches in hand. I honestly can't fathom why anyone would say, " Out of all the churches in this city, I think I'll go to the one that looks like a neo- Nazi clubhouse."

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Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
By 'unsuitable worship practices' I'm obviously referring to those practices that you and others consider to be unsuitable for worship in the CofE.

That Anglo-Catholic church whose worship is both suitable for the CofE and attractive to young families is obviously somewhere very special.

I think it's somewhere that has a safe area in the main body of the church with toys and rugs for small kids and their parents to play in during the service. Or at least that's what it is where I go. The kids take part in the bits of the service that they can. They take their own collection in e.g. a plastic tea pot and then it goes in the salver with the rest up to be blessed and then onto the altar. Seems to work.

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by LutheranChik:
I thought of this thread yesterday as we were driving through the university town next to us. There's a church, located in lan old supermarket building, that used to be called Victory Christian Fellowship, but now the sign simply says VICTORY. Its trademark, for lack of a better term, is a shield bearing a lion's head, half white, half black...that's on all their properties and advertising. There's also a youth division callled "Ignite." The website seems like standard crypto-Baptist, but I find the iconography unnerving. When I see the building I expect black-shirted fascists to come marching out, torches in hand. I honestly can't fathom why anyone would say, " Out of all the churches in this city, I think I'll go to the one that looks like a neo- Nazi clubhouse."

Maybe they've got a particular mission to those likely to be attracted to fascism.
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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
The kids take part in the bits of the service that they can. They take their own collection in e.g. a plastic tea pot and then it goes in the salver with the rest up to be blessed and then onto the altar. Seems to work.

Why do so many churches "train" children to take up a collection before they teach them anything else? (I'm not just referring to your church Helen-Eva -- I've seen this in various churches all my life.)

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Bishops Finger
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That reminds me of a song we used to sing at Sunday School:

Hear the pennies dropping, listen as they fall;
Every one for Jesus - he shall have them all.

Or words to that effect.

[Ultra confused]

But even quite young children can also be encouraged to do other jobs like serving, handing out books, blowing out candles etc. etc.

There comes a time, of course, when such things pall...but that's another story!

IJ

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Albertus
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And actually, of course, in many A-C churches there are, or can be, lots of jobs that children can do, or help with.

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LutheranChik
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Arethosemyfeet: If you mean they have a mission to testosterone- pumped 20- and 30- something men who want to feel manly and "win" at something, since they're not einning at life, that seems to be the demographic they're targeting. But -- LOL -- I think fighting fascism isn't a goal.

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Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
The kids take part in the bits of the service that they can. They take their own collection in e.g. a plastic tea pot and then it goes in the salver with the rest up to be blessed and then onto the altar. Seems to work.

Why do so many churches "train" children to take up a collection before they teach them anything else? (I'm not just referring to your church Helen-Eva -- I've seen this in various churches all my life.)
I assume because it's a simple part of the service that's easy to join in with that can easily be understood by kids. We used to take in a penny for charity at my first year primary school too.
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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by mrs whibley:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
In British terms it just means all age worship, doesn't it?

For introverted, ageing, bookish types it's not the best thing in the world, but since most of our churches are chronically short of children it's not hard to see why special attention is given to people who bring kids along.

This should be the case. However, what I'm taking about is places where the children are told that adults who don't join in with the actions to children's songs don't like kids
Blimey. What do they make of kids who'd rather eat their own earwax than join in with the actions? I've got two myself, and one was one.
Well, maybe they've outgrown that kind of thing. Or else they've just taken after their introverted, ageing, bookish parents!
[Devil]


Seriously though, most churches are poor at children's work in general. I'm not pointing the finger; it's the outcome of a long-term decline in adult engagement, and a plethora of alternative leisure activities, etc. Churches can't get the staff, and access to training is patchy. Moreover, activities that are suitable for 3 year olds won't appeal to 6 year olds. If they're already dancing and singing along to Beyonce what use is a kiddy song with actions?

But to insist that all kids and their parents will or should respect the traditional aura of the CofE, as is being implied above, seems to be unwise.


quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Churches that are confident in what they believe and welcoming are those that are surviving and growing - that is what the research is showing. The form of worship is less important in that equation. A confident liberal church can be just as attractive in these circumstances.

Churches frantically chasing the latest trend to attract congregants do not appear confident in what they believe. Churches that talk down to their congregants do not feel welcoming or sure of their beliefs, or the beliefs of their congregants.

I'm sure this is true, to an extent.

However, David Voas of the CofE's Church Growth Resource Programme also makes the point that there's no clear solution to decline, and that we can't assume that success in one church can be transferred wholesale to another. What works at your popular, child-friendly AC church might not be helpful or feasible in another AC church in another setting.

Voas suggests that churches need to be engaged in a process of reflection. I'm sure this means that 'trends' have to be considered.

(But old ladies singing along to 'The Wise Man Built His House upon the Rock' with the little uns really doesn't feel like a trend to me. Weren't people doing this at churches years ago? Ordinary MOTR churches. Maybe not in the CofE.)

[ 04. September 2017, 23:12: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Curiosity killed ...

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I would say reflection was required to help a church understand its own beliefs to build that confidence and to know how it can offer a Christian presence in its own community. That does not mean chasing trends. The reflection tools encourage churches to review prayerfully their mission, ensuring that visions are shared and agreed in advance.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
And actually, of course, in many A-C churches there are, or can be, lots of jobs that children can do, or help with.

Yeah, this is often said, but my kids had absolutely no interest in doing them. These jobs (which they did try for a few services) didn't make the service any less tedious and dull to them.

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Albertus
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Depends how it's done and depends on the kids. Some would like being the centre of attention, wandering around with candles and incense: others would hate it.

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mrs whibley
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But I didn't say that children shouldn't sing songs with actions, or that the adults shouldn't join in. What I said was, if some of the adults don't join in then they shouldn't be made examples of, and particularly not by telling the children that said adults don't like them. This seems particularly unkind to both adults and children even if it is the case!

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Enoch
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It's a long time since I was a child, but if anyone had suggested it, I would not have been interested in or attracted by dressing up in robes and being some sort of acolyte - though through most of my childhood we didn't go to churches that were high enough for that sort of thing. So it didn't arise. The only real area of involvement for youngsters in those days was choir, but as I couldn't sing in tune, nobody ever suggested it.

Thankfully, those days were before 'actions', but I don't think I'd have reckoned much to them.

I was a parent by the time I first encountered adults doing them (family services, late seventies). One was told Christians are supposed to be child-like. But it struck me as childish rather than child like, and really rather silly.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
I would say reflection was required to help a church understand its own beliefs to build that confidence and to know how it can offer a Christian presence in its own community. That does not mean chasing trends. The reflection tools encourage churches to review prayerfully their mission, ensuring that visions are shared and agreed in advance.

Of course, it was you who focused on 'trends', not myself.

Considering the community is indeed important. I don't think chasing pell-mell after trends is a huge issue for the Christian communities I'm most aware of, but you may well find it to be an intractable and corrosive problem where you are.

And as I said, old ladies occasionally participating in action songs isn't really a 'trend' from my perspective!

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Seriously though, most churches are poor at children's work in general.

Most churches? That may be your experience but it's not mine at all.

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verity
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Thinking of side doors ...

Like most Ministers, I stand at the church door after the service and shake hands with folk as they leave.

The other week I went to King Charles The Martyr in Royal.tonbridge Wells as a civilian (ie not a MW), and we were invited to the hall for tea.
Unfortunately, we couldn'tget out of the church because the vicar was engaged in a *very* long conversation with someone *in* the doorway and there was just no way past!
At that point I really wished we'd been on duty!

(And the fact we couldn't actually find the hall)

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
And actually, of course, in many A-C churches there are, or can be, lots of jobs that children can do, or help with.

Yeah, this is often said, but my kids had absolutely no interest in doing them. These jobs (which they did try for a few services) didn't make the service any less tedious and dull to them.
Your post made me wonder what kind of church activity would appeal to my own kids ...

After all, they grew up in 'lively' church settings and that didn't float their boat. They are aware of more traditional settings but haven't had a great deal of direct exposure to them ... although they used to refer to this as 'strict church' when they were little as they assumed that anything with a bit of decorum would be harsh in some way ...

The answer is, I don't really know.

They went on a few 'Youth for Christ' type residential events and came back singularly unimpressed and doing toe-curlingly accurate impressions of what they'd been subjected to ...

'And yeah, right ... God is just awesome, right? Listen to this from the Bible right? [insert verse of choice]. Isn't that amazing?! Awesome! Whoaaoahhhh ...'

And so on and so forth ...


[Roll Eyes] [Help]

But then, someone swinging a thurible wouldn't have impressed them much either ...

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verity
Apprentice
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quote:
Why do so many churches "train" children to take up a collection before they teach them anything else? (I'm not just referring to your church Helen-Eva -- I've seen this in various churches all my life.)
Because one of the most important facets of christianity is generosity
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verity
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I was brought up as very traditional.
we used to go to a children's church club at our local pentecostal church, which I loved.
One week we were invited to their Sunday service.
It was awful. I was really scared in the service, because it was very full-on and intense.
that one experience put me off that kind of worship.
I still find it very hard to join in with that kind of worship.
<shudder>

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SvitlanaV2
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I should apologise for not including the word 'British' in that sentence. I wasn't referring to churches throughout the world.

It's not a mere opinion, sadly; I've read research that highlights the problems that many British churches face with regards to offering adequate provision for children's work.

Congregations have reduced in size, parents value religious education less, and there are so many more exciting leisure options. It's unsurprising therefore that what's on offer at most churches isn't going to meet the standards that children are likely to have.

As an example of the problem, 48% of CofE churches have fewer than five children under the age of 16.

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L'organist
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(one of the Organist's twins here)

The sight of any of the following: drum kit, microphone stand, screen, theatre lighting.

Or a vicar who greets newcomers with "call me Tony" and seems not to own a pair of proper shoes.

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Chorister

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
(one of the Organist's twins here)

The sight of any of the following: drum kit, microphone stand, screen, theatre lighting.

But, presumably, a Rood Screen would be just fine?

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Pangolin Guerre
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Much favoured, in fact. One of my two alternate shacks has an exquisite rood screen - beautiful, detailed, and see-through.
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Curiosity killed ...

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There is a painting over the altar at All Souls, Langham Place, not that it is often on view. Normally it is covered by the screen on which to project whatever, I guess words of anything sung and images.

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Bishops Finger
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Images?

At All Souls, Langham Place?

Is Outrage!

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
the altar at All Souls, Langham Place,

Communion table?

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Chorister

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Went back to a former church to discover that a large screen had been put up - it would completely block off the choir stalls from the nave pews! I think different types of church furniture sends a strong message, although it might be misleading you'd be forgiven for thinking that you can read a lot about a church from just walking in through the door. Apparently the same church has decided the pulpit is no longer needed, so they have put it in a shed.

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
Apparently the same church has decided the pulpit is no longer needed, so they have put it in a shed.

Some sermons might be improved by being preached from a shed. (But I assume the preacher is in the church, just not using the pulpit.)
[Razz]

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L'organist
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All Soul's LP had a lot of very fine church furnishings which simply "vanished" when the reordering took place.

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daisymay

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I want yes at the church and it was prayed and bread and it was good

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balaam

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
(one of the Organist's twins here)

The sight of any of the following: drum kit, microphone stand, screen, theatre lighting.

Or a vicar who greets newcomers with "call me Tony" and seems not to own a pair of proper shoes.

Call me biased, I'm the drummer.

Guilty of all of these except the vicar isn't called Tony and has decent shoes. Plus we have 2 Sunday morning serviced so you can avoid hearing the drums and hear the organ instead by attending the 9am service.

As for screens, we now has 2, which block the view to bits of boring wall, replacing the one which blocked the view to our rather nice east window. When we installed the first obtrusive screen congregational singing improved as the were now singing with heads raised, rather than mumbling down into hymn books.

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
Plus we have 2 Sunday morning serviced so you can avoid hearing the drums and hear the organ instead by attending the 9am service.

Churches that assume that everyone who appreciates traditional music and liturgy is up at the crack of dawn.

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Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
Plus we have 2 Sunday morning serviced so you can avoid hearing the drums and hear the organ instead by attending the 9am service.

Churches that assume that everyone who appreciates traditional music and liturgy is up at the crack of dawn.
If that is not an option, one can skip Sunday worship and leave it until mid-week Communion, say on a Wednesday and it may be traditional rite.
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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Ecclesiastical Flip-flop:
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
Plus we have 2 Sunday morning serviced so you can avoid hearing the drums and hear the organ instead by attending the 9am service.

Churches that assume that everyone who appreciates traditional music and liturgy is up at the crack of dawn.
If that is not an option, one can skip Sunday worship and leave it until mid-week Communion, say on a Wednesday and it may be traditional rite.
Does your mid-week Communion include full choir and organ?

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Bishops Finger
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Rather unlikely, I would think, though some of the churches in the City of London do have a fairly traditional (not necessarily BCP) Eucharist with hymns (or even a full-on Sung Eucharist) at or around lunchtime during the week.

IJ

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Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
quote:
Originally posted by Ecclesiastical Flip-flop:
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
Plus we have 2 Sunday morning serviced so you can avoid hearing the drums and hear the organ instead by attending the 9am service.

Churches that assume that everyone who appreciates traditional music and liturgy is up at the crack of dawn.
If that is not an option, one can skip Sunday worship and leave it until mid-week Communion, say on a Wednesday and it may be traditional rite.
Does your mid-week Communion include full choir and organ?
Bishops Finger beat me to it in answering your question and I would have made reference to mid-week Sung Eucharist in London as well. Outside London, mid-week morning said Euchist (on a Wednesday or a different day) are quite commonplace, sometimes using a traditional rite.
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balaam

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
Plus we have 2 Sunday morning serviced so you can avoid hearing the drums and hear the organ instead by attending the 9am service.

Churches that assume that everyone who appreciates traditional music and liturgy is up at the crack of dawn.
Churches with only one worship space means that one service is too early and the other you will not be out until 12.30.

The first service is the one which has a set finish time, communion with hymns takes around one hour. The contemporary service can be open ended (but not too long or people with food cooking will leave early.)

Having said that, having music that is played well, regardless of style, is what attracts. We're fortunate in having a wealth of musicians.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
Churches with only one worship space means that one service is too early and the other you will not be out until 12.30. ....

Churches with more than one worship space capable of being used for two different services simultaneously must be be very rare. That's even before one considers whether there's something fundamentally wrong in the concept of encouraging the members to meet in some other way than as one body.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Churches with more than one worship space capable of being used for two different services simultaneously must be be very rare. That's even before one considers whether there's something fundamentally wrong in the concept of encouraging the members to meet in some other way than as one body.

Agreed. But several churches have different services of different styles spread through the day, from early BCP Communion to Parish Eucharist to Family Service to Messy Church ... your dictum would say every church should have a single service only. And perhaps you're right.
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Orthodox churches only have one Eucharist a day, apparently. So you couldn't have an 8am one and an 11am one, say, for different congregations within the same parish with a different 'style' for each.

In the West, though that particular horse has long since bolted.

I'm uncomfortable with two services within a single congregation, such as the pattern at our local parish church, but at least a 9am service allows respite and refuge for those who don't want to be subjected to the silly stuff that goes on at 11am ...

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Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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Occasionally, I have heard of two worship services, each of a different worship style, held on the same church premises at the same time. Such as one eucharistic and the other non-eucharistic. I don't go to a church where that happens, but if I did, I would normally select the eucharistic service.
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Forthview
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In orthodox churches,as Gamaliel says, the eucharist is only celebrated once each day.The Sunday liturgy comprising both Matins and Eucharist lasts for several hours.The faithful are not obliged to attend all or indeed any of the Divine Liturgy.Many worshippers will come and go just as they wish.
What you will not find,however, are the sort of things you find in many Western churches such as outreach,all age,or family oriented services.There is not really anything like 'simple Low Mass'
The Western church established the idea of a number of services,cutting down the length of these.
Byzantine rite Catholic churches will sometimes have more than one Divine liturgy celebrated on the same day,but it is not common.

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Liturgylover
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Churches with more than one worship space capable of being used for two different services simultaneously must be be very rare. That's even before one considers whether there's something fundamentally wrong in the concept of encouraging the members to meet in some other way than as one body.

Agreed. But several churches have different services of different styles spread through the day, from early BCP Communion to Parish Eucharist to Family Service to Messy Church ... your dictum would say every church should have a single service only. And perhaps you're right.
If anything that particular pattern of having more than one service is growing, at least in the part of London where I live. Two nearby churches have an 8am BCP Eucharist, another at 9.15 which is aimed more at families, and a sung Eucharist at 10.30. Another nearby church has around 60 to 90 people at its 8am with many families attending at this hour.
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Baptist Trainfan
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This "market segmentation" not only raises profound questions about the nature of our "gathering" but poses a real problems for churches which only have the resources to offer one service. To put it bluntly, many people seem to want church to be done "their way"; if it isn't, they will wipe the dust from their feet and look elsewhere. Churches that must try to satisfy everyone may well find it impossible to please anyone!

[ 13. September 2017, 15:26: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
Churches with only one worship space means that one service is too early and the other you will not be out until 12.30. ....

Churches with more than one worship space capable of being used for two different services simultaneously must be be very rare. That's even before one considers whether there's something fundamentally wrong in the concept of encouraging the members to meet in some other way than as one body.
They probably are quite rare.

But in some cases the only realistic alternative to running two services for different people already attending a single church is for the unfavoured group to leave that church entirely - and how does that encourage the notion of 'one body'?

Moreover, there are plenty of churches that raise much needed funds by renting rooms out to a second (or third, etc.) congregation from another denomination. Should that be discouraged because it goes against 'one body'?

The idea that we should all be doing the same thing in the same way at the same time also feels rather anti-democratic to me. It's not very Protestant, is it? It also seems quite reactionary, in that it denies the reality of our pluralistic, multicultural, diverse communities.

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Angloid
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The great (if maybe now rather forgotten) Fr Conrad Noel, who was vicar of the splendid parish church in Thaxted, had a vision of such churches as being like a cathedral. Not in the sense of lots of formal services, but as the mother church which (our Lord's image, not necessarily his) gathers all her children under her wings. So that alongside a splendid Eucharist with colour and music and incense etc, you would have a Quaker meeting taking place in another room, an evangelical praise service in another, and so on. All would be able to worship in accordance with their traditions and 'comfort zone', but they would be conscious of being members of the same Body and would come together from time to time for joint acts of worship. Instead of seeing this as divisive it could be a pattern of true ecumenism. Catholic as being inclusive, celebrating the Body; Protestant as allowing for freedom of conscience and expression.

Liverpool Cathedral already operates a bit like that. There is a formal sung eucharist in the nave, while simultaneously in the crypt is something more like café church. Later is a Persian-language eucharist for the many recent immigrants from the near east.

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
Churches with only one worship space means that one service is too early and the other you will not be out until 12.30. ....

Churches with more than one worship space capable of being used for two different services simultaneously must be be very rare. That's even before one considers whether there's something fundamentally wrong in the concept of encouraging the members to meet in some other way than as one body.
Church halls are fairly commonly used for services - while it's unusual for them for be used at the same time as a service in the actual church, it does happen. So usually the space is there (churches that don't have a church hall must be relatively uncommon), but most churches seem uninterested in doing that - it does seem lacking in togetherness.

Megachurches will have multiple buildings and even multiple campuses, like universities.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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daisymay

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I have been in the church and it was good 1

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