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Source: (consider it) Thread: Contemporary Traditional Stats
Olaf
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Today I visited yet another church with one early traditional service (8am) and one late contemporary service (10:30am). The attendance stats in the leaflet support what I have long observed: that churches with the services divided thus end up with the majority of the attendees at the traditional service. In today's case, it was 100 to 25.

The context to which I refer is one particular variety of Lutheran, but I have noticed that my observation bears true in most Lutheran denoms, at least around here, anyway.

Does this same phenomenon occur elsewhere? Has anybody discovered a way to shatter the divide?

[ 25. November 2013, 01:58: Message edited by: Olaf ]

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Bostonman
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Traditional = Elizabethan language and Contemporary = 20th c. language or Traditional = Hymns and Contemporary = Band?
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Zappa
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Not the case anywhere I've ever been, but those would be Anglican circles, where the early liturgy tends to be said or said with hymns, at the most 30% of the later sung or said with more gusto settings.

To my shame my new pad is about 12 for 8.00 and 70-80 for choral eucharist at 10.00. That is abysmal and pray God will improve over the next ten years.

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Leorning Cniht
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Our (TEC) place used to have an early morning Rite 1 service, then a modern-songs and guitars Rite 2 at 8.30, then a traditional hymn and robed choir Rite 2 at 10.30.

The Rite 1 attracted a small congregation, with the remainder splitting about 50-50 between the earlier modern music and later trad music services. Although some people went one way or the other based on musical preferences, I think many people went to the earlier service if they had a busy schedule on Sundays (sports-playing children, for example), or the later service if they liked a more leisurely start to the morning.

We have since amalgamated the two rite 2 services into a single 10am offering, with a bit of a lucky dip approach to the music. When this change happened, a few of the 10.30 crowd left for another church with a traditional music-only service, one or two of the 8.30 crowd switched to the early morning rite 1 spoken service, but many now attend the 10am service patchily when it fits in with their other activities.

I'd say the preferences of the current 10am congregation were about 70:30 in favour of traditional music, but the 30 tend to be more outspoken about their tastes [Big Grin]

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Custard
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I've never been anywhere so split where the trad service was better attended.

At current church (evangelical C of E), we get about 30 to the trad 9:15am and about 70/80 to the more modern 11am.

Both showing signs of growth, which is nice. As someone who generally prefers the modern, I think we do the trad better, but that's partly because we've had more practice at it....

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Liturgylover
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This pattern of what was initially a quiet early service becoming more popular than the later service is certainly taking hold in CofE churches near me.

This is the case both in evangelical parishes -where the early service is almost always a robed Communion service with hymns - and in catholic ones where it is usually a congregational setting with hymns and sometimes with voluntary choir.

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Caissa
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Our 9 a.m. traditional service gets about a dozen and our 10:30 service, BAS three quarter's of the time, gets about 80.
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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Bostonman:
Traditional = Elizabethan language and Contemporary = 20th c. language or Traditional = Hymns and Contemporary = Band?

Since Olaf is on the western side of The Pond, I'm guessing it's primarily the latter—contemporary music with a praise band, coupled with "relaxed" liturgy.

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the giant cheeseburger
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quote:
Originally posted by Olaf:
Today I visited yet another church with one early traditional service (8am) and one late contemporary service (10:30am). The attendance stats in the leaflet support what I have long observed: that churches with the services divided thus end up with the majority of the attendees at the traditional service. In today's case, it was 100 to 25.

The context to which I refer is one particular variety of Lutheran, but I have noticed that my observation bears true in most Lutheran denoms, at least around here, anyway.

Does this same phenomenon occur elsewhere? Has anybody discovered a way to shatter the divide?

In my (reasonably narrow, and almost purely on a musical level) experience the keys to whichever way it goes are how well it is done and which service attracts a better sense of ownership from the congregation.

If you've got a bunch of musicians who don't have the necessary talents to do the contemporary music well and/or a congregation that isn't on board with the leaders' intentions, of course the traditional service is going to get the lion's share. The same applies if you try it the other way around.

Blended can work well (so many hymns sound so much better with a full band!) but you need people with good training in general musicianship to make it work properly.

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Enoch
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We stopped our early service some years ago because the clergy got fed up with turning out early in the morning to take services that nobody came to. I can't find it in myself to disagree with that.

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S. Bacchus
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Our (TEC) place used to have an early morning Rite 1 service, then a modern-songs and guitars Rite 2 at 8.30, then a traditional hymn and robed choir Rite 2 at 10.30.

If 8.30 is your second service, I shudder to think how early your 'early' service is! We have a 8:00 AM service and everyone, including the vicar (especially the vicar) thinks that's absurdly early.

That said, there is something to be said for early services. I remember once in a Northern city, having to attend a Palm Sunday Mass with a Roman Catholic religious order because the BCP said communion at the Cathedral was simply too late to allow me to get to the work I was contractually required to do. (The fact that, in a country where CofE churches vastly outnumber RC ones, it's still often easier to get to an RC mass than a CofE one at any time other than 11:00 on a Sunday is a pet peeve of mine, but that's a digression).

We have an 8:00 said BCP communion, which I suppose counts as our 'traditional' service, particularly as it's pretty unadulterated BCP with the collect for the Queen and with the Gloria at the end. I've only been once in recent years, on Christmas Day, when I noted that the priest and server both genuflected during the gospel and the creed — which I'm not sure is what Cranmer had in mind! It's definitely fair to say that our 'traditional' said communion is much more poorly attended than the later Sung Eucharist, which is slightly more contemporary in feel (Common Worship in Traditional Language, rather than straight BCP). The former gets about half a dozen, the latter just over a hundred on a good Sunday. I suspect that the time and the fact that the later service has both music and children's activities whilst the earlier one has neither are both more important than the actual liturgy used, although many people don't much like the BCP Communion Office (including me, really).

ETA: We used to have a 'contemporary' service one day a week (CW 1 'in contemporary language' and with the NRSV rather than the RSV), but this was abandoned when it was discovered that literally not a single person could be found in the congregation who actually liked it.

[ 25. November 2013, 18:47: Message edited by: S. Bacchus ]

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Zappa
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... as hinted above, I was gobsmacked to arrive at my new pad and find the early service (said, no hymns, NZPB/HKMOA) had a congregation of about 12. I will keep it going until the last toenail falls off, but I believe it may be below the critical mass at which it will ever attract more. Especially as it is held in the so-called Māori chapel, behind the High Altar, demanding a 80 metre walk up the nave to get there.

If a punter can find the doors to the cathedral in the first place ... [Help]

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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I went to the early service for nearly 2 years. it was during a time of intense family tragedy. My wife could not bring herself to attend church at all. The early service (9 a.m.) allowed me to go at all. If I'd had to attend the 10:30 contemporary service there would have been looks and attempts at conversation that I could not have abided. And they often cut the psalm in lieu of a song (sure it would be based on a psalm, but 'hymn' is too kind), and I needed psalms, even if the wrong ones were sometimes chosen.

Do you really keep score cards you clergy? Meaning is found in so many ways, but this seems a little quantitative. I imagine deanery meetings where you compare how many communions dispensed, babies baptised, souls sent off to heaven. like stock brokers comparing percentage returns. Or where the bishop kicks the garbage can, yells and tries to coach all of you into higher scores like a bunch of footballers or hockey players, while you all chant "we're number one!"

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Emendator Liturgia
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quote:
Originally posted by S. Bacchus:
If 8.30 is your second service, I shudder to think how early your 'early' service is! We have a 8:00 AM service and everyone, including the vicar (especially the vicar) thinks that's absurdly early. [/QB]

8am is late for the first early service! I grew up in a parish where the first service was at 7am (said HC without hymns), followed by an 8am (said HC with hynns), followed by a 10am service (Sung Eucharist with choir and hymns, with Choral Mattins on alternate Sunday's). Of course, there was also an evening service (alternating between Choral Evensong and a youth service).

Now that was some 30 years ago - and the same parish still maintains the same schedule of services - with some neweer evening services at times such as Taize, etc.

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Chorister

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There seems to be a difference between very large churches, which can afford to staff 2 full sung services each week, and those who can only really staff one, but provide a very early said only service as well, as a concession to the very quiet, formal people. In the first instance, both services are well-attended. In the second, there are rarely more than a dozen or so at the early service, with the majority of the congregation attending the later one. My guess is that said services are just generally less popular than sung ones, regardless of the liturgy used.

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
originally posted by no prophet:
Do you really keep score cards you clergy?

We have to keep score cards. How else are we supposed to fill out the parochial reports? We get in trouble for not submitting a complete parochial report.
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ldjjd
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An 8:00 am(or roughly thereabouts) service is by far the norm in TEC parishes followed by one or more later services.

Regardless of these services being considered traditional/contemporary/spoken/sung/choral/Low Mass/High Mass/family/blended/Folk Mass or whatever their flavor, parishes where the 8:00 service is better attended than a later service or services are rare indeed in TEC.

[ 26. November 2013, 01:15: Message edited by: ldjjd ]

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ldjjd
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Back in the day, there were a few rural Episcopal churches that began with a 7:00am Holy Communion and a few urban Anglo-Catholic shrines that began began hourly Low Masses at that time. This has all but disappeared.

Far more likely would be an "early" service beginning at 9:00am with a much better attended "principal" service at 10:30 or 11:00 or 11:15.

Overall, though, 8:00ish remains the most common early service time in the US.

[ 26. November 2013, 01:28: Message edited by: ldjjd ]

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L'organist
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I think a lot depends on how "contemporary" is interpreted.

The parish where I live used to have the norm of traditional (said) early service attended by about 12-15 followed by (slightly more) contemporary sung with about 80 plus children's activities.

However, since gaining a wonderful new priest they have worked so well that the 8am said is now standing room only - 90+ including lots of under 18s - while the contemporary is struggling to get past 20.

Reason: First, the contemporary has become so shambolic that most people will do anything to avoid it, even those who only go to "get the points" for school admissions. Second, the 8am is more often than not taken by someone other than the new PP.

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Curiosity killed ...

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Here said BCP at 8am gets 12-20, I *think* - I stopped going when we got the curate too often - and the 9:20am sung Common Worship gets 140 odd. The sung contemporary without Eucharist gets 100 ish unless it's the Christingle or other similar.

Again, there are a number of regulars at the 8am who are the only churchgoer in their family and they get to that service as it causes fewer family disputes. When I was involved in children's work or operating the sound in the main service I used to go to communion at 8am before working at 9:20am (and I wasn't the only one).

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Liturgylover
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Here said BCP at 8am gets 12-20, I *think* - I stopped going when we got the curate too often - and the 9:20am sung Common Worship gets 140 odd. The sung contemporary without Eucharist gets 100 ish unless it's the Christingle or other similar.

Again, there are a number of regulars at the 8am who are the only churchgoer in their family and they get to that service as it causes fewer family disputes.

I think that's true. Some churches near me report that the first Sunday of the month 8am also attracts the "once a monthers" who by habit have come to make their communion, when the numbers increase to around 40.

I am normally in the shower at 8am, but on one occasion went because of a later family commitment and was surprised to claim the last available seat in the chapel.

But I don't think these 8ams would reach anywhere near the numbers at the "main service". It seems that it is the 9 and 9.30am services (which also tend to have music) which are growing.

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Liturgylover
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
I think a lot depends on how "contemporary" is interpreted.

The parish where I live used to have the norm of traditional (said) early service attended by about 12-15 followed by (slightly more) contemporary sung with about 80 plus children's activities.

However, since gaining a wonderful new priest they have worked so well that the 8am said is now standing room only - 90+ including lots of under 18s - while the contemporary is struggling to get past 20.

Reason: First, the contemporary has become so shambolic that most people will do anything to avoid it, even those who only go to "get the points" for school admissions. Second, the 8am is more often than not taken by someone other than the new PP.

Wow - what an achievement. Standing-room only at an 8am is not something I expected to read about.
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Gamaliel
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I'm tempted to move ...

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seekingsister
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We have around 150 in attendance on a Sunday at our parish (evangelical).

The breakdown is roughly:

9:30 AM BCP 20
11 AM Family 80
6 PM Evening 50

This really goes along demographics though. Children's classes are only at the 11 AM, so everyone with families attends that one. 6 PM tends to be students and young professionals who don't want to wake up early and/or be around kids.

So 9:30 AM is mostly the older members of the congregation. The nice thing is that they have coffee at the end and 11 AM has coffee at the start, so there's an overlap where the two sets of groups can socialize in the morning.

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Barefoot Friar

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I suspect Olaf is asking about "traditional Protestant"* versus "contemporary" worship (read: music) styles, rather than languages. I love the contemporary language Rite II BCP service, but that's not what I would call a contemporary service. It's not even what I would call a "traditional Protestant" service, although it's close.

No, a "traditional Protestant" service contains such elements as hymn singing, reciting the (usually Apostles') Creed, and responsive readings, but generally I see them using orders of worship that were used fifty years ago. Especially in the UMC, it seems, where the clergy who are now appointed to "traditional" churches came of age during that time and have never really bothered to move to the new liturgy. They almost always use modern language, and they generally always use the truncated version of the Great Thanksgiving at the monthly Communion, but they use the older worship order. I'm slightly mystified, but that's another subject for another day.

Contemporary, on the other hand, means no written liturgy, no or very few congregational responses, a band made up of guitar(s), bass guitar, drums, and any other instruments that can be played, using music often heard on the radio -- if done well, you heard it on the way to church, and if done poorly, you heard it fifteen years ago.

Now to answer the question. My wife's father is a UM pastor with three services: a relaxed blended service at 8 (which is taken by one of the associate pastors), a contemporary service at 9:15 in the gym, and a traditional service at 11 in the sanctuary. He reports about a 10/50/40 split between 8/9:15/11 services, with contemporary shrinking at the moment. Traditional is as high as it is I think because it's made up of older people who have always worshiped then and in that style, and who have no wish to change. The earliest service is quite popular with older baby-boomers, because they tend to sing more "Gaither-style" Southern Gospel.

This isn't unusual for UMCs around here. The traditional services tend to be growing, albeit slowly, but are still overshadowed by the contemporary ones. What I'm noticing seems to really help is when the traditional service is quite traditional and the contemporary service is quite contemporary. When the two aren't different enough, they both seem to suffer.

Well, that's my 2¢ anyway.

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*For lack of a better term.

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stonespring
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There isn't much discussion of RC Masses here, but here in Manhattan (which, obviously, is not like the rest of the US), they seem to all have a "choral" Mass around 11 am (if the parish even has a chorus) which is about as close to traditional music as most parishes get. The chorus may or may not sing an anthem/motet by themselves at communion or the offertory in addition to helping the congregation with the hymns. If the parish has a cantor only and no chorus, this is the Mass most likely to have the cantor sing a solo. All other English Masses are likely to be the same, just without a choir and with cantor only, or with no music, or (rarely) with the congregation singing hymns with no cantor to lead them. A fair number of Manhattan parishes have a "casual"/"contemporary"/"young adult"/or, in our parish, "jazz" Mass on Sunday late afternoon/evening. The only difference with the other Masses is in the music - which is often Vatican II-style hymns with chorus/cantor and guitar, contemporary pop-music influenced hymns and Mass settings with band or orchestral ensemble and chorus/cantor, or in our Parish, Jazz trio with cantor (the bassist) and Duke Ellington songs, Jazzified spirituals and Vatican-II hymns, etc.

Here in the City, the Choral Masses and "Casual" Masses are the best attended and unless the Parish is particularly known for its Casual Mass (like Ascension, St. Paul the Apostle, St. Ignatius Loyola), the Choral Mass is the best attended overall (as it occupies the 11 am slot). The very popular "casual" Masses often cater to a certain demographic: young (especially single) adults, LGBT people, people unlikely to be awake before noon on a Sunday, people who wouldn't otherwise go to Church, etc.

In the suburbs I have seen children's/family Masses, usually a little earlier in the morning than that "choral" Mass but not the earliest Mass. These are often also attended by adults without children if that is the most convenient time for them. Often the only difference with other English Masses is the use of contemporary hymns for children or simple contemporary hymns in general, older children as readers and altar servers, and (sometimes) the use of Eucharistic prayers for Masses with children.

Of course almost every parish here as at least one Spanish Mass, which is often better attended than any of the English Masses, and the music at those varies depending on the countries of origin of the immigrant community and the musical talents and tastes of the congregation. We have a charismatic Dominican (as in Dominican Republic) community in our parish that has a (largely unison) choir, guitar, tambourine, soloists, and contemporary, folksy songs (some of which were composed by members of our parish). Other parishes have Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Polish, Haitian Creole, etc., Masses and I am not familiar with the music at them.

When there is a Latin Mass (Novus Ordo or Tridentine), there is sometimes a marked difference in the musical style between that Mass and others - sometimes the Latin Mass, even if Novus Ordo or a low/Missa Cantata Tridentine Mass, has no hymns at all but instead has the congregation join in singing or chanting the parts of the Mass setting and has a choir chant propers and maybe sing a motet. Parishes with Masses like this often have more traditional hymns for their English Masses, anyway. Parishes with no Latin Masses but with the use of Latin propers at English Masses generally only have the choir do so at the "choral" Sunday Mass, and use English hymns instead at other Masses.

Among English Masses, I have noticed no variation in terms of the Eucharistic Prayers or other liturgical options (among the limited options in the Roman Missal) between Masses at the same parish in different musical styles. Often, though, the altar servers at the "casual" Sunday evening Masses tend to be adults (whereas they are often children at other Masses) and do not wear vestments (although they do at the Jazz Mass at our parish!). Basically a parish or priest is either all for Eucharistic Prayer II or Eucharistic Prayer III almost all the time.

The choral and "casual" services are the best attended among the English Masses, and the people who care about the Music at the Mass they go to go to those and might complain or switch Masses/parishes (at least in NYC where parish choices are ample and people aren't required to register in their geographical parish) if the music changes. Most Catholics here, especially in the suburbs, if they make any attempt to go to Mass each Sunday, are more concerned with going in, chatting with the people they know, and getting out as quickly as possible, and don't really care about the music as long as it is somewhat pretty and doesnt have anything in it (or the homily/sermon) that seems controversial. Non-English Mass congregants are quite different, though, and I can't speak for them.

A few Manhattan parishes where the parishioners seem to have the money and/or ideology to particularly care how things are done at one Mass or other seem to be:

Corpus Christi on W 121st St.
Notre Dame on W 114th St.
St. Paul the Apostle on W 59th St.
St. Ignatius Loyola (Upper East Side)
St. Francis Xavier on W 16th St.
St. Francis of Assisi on W 31st St.
St. Agnes on E. 43rd St.

But that is only based on my limited experience.
Now that the Ordinariate has its own use, though, I am guessing that an Anglican-style division of services will arise with the Ordinariate Use Mass as the "traditional" Mass and the Roman Missal Masses as the "contemporary" ones. Not sure which ones will be better attended.

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Pomona
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Conservative evangelical Anglican church I used to attend had an early said Eucharist (CW) which had a small but dedicated congregation - but they more or less all only attended that service and were not part of any other church activities. The celebrant would only wear choir dress though (I don't think the vicar even owns a stole) which doesn't seem quite right to me now (at the time it was the only kind of Anglicanism I was familiar with at that point so I saw it as normal).

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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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LA Dave
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Our parish has a well-attended vigil Mass at 4 p.m. on Saturday which features an organist and soloist/cantor and "traditional" hymns. Sunday features an 8 a.m. (no music) and 10 a.m. Mass (guitars and bongo drums, but some trad hymns) and a 12 p.m. choral Mass with full choir, schola, two motets/anthems, smoke and trad hymns. I'd say that the 10 a.m. and noon are about equal, but have noted an increasing attendance at the latter. The earlier one is a little better for families.
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no prophet's flag is set so...

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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
originally posted by no prophet:
Do you really keep score cards you clergy?

We have to keep score cards. How else are we supposed to fill out the parochial reports? We get in trouble for not submitting a complete parochial report.
I understand that. I wondered more about discussion and bragging, like people do when talking about their PB* in running a 10K or how many goals they've scored. -- I think I am probably too tangential with this.

* PB: personal best

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
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Olaf
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# 11804

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quote:
Originally posted by Barefoot Friar:
I suspect Olaf is asking about "traditional Protestant"* versus "contemporary" worship (read: music) styles, rather than languages.

Indeed, but I am not exactly new to Eccles. I left it vague on purpose, hoping for exactly the type of discussion that has been taking place, which I have found quite enlightening.
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ldjjd
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In TEC, by far the general rule is (and has been for a long, long time) that the early service has little or no music while the later service or services will have music in some form. That form does vary widely.

Back in the day again, organ and choir were by far the norm in the later service(s), even if the "organ" was a dying Hammond and the "choir" was three or four elderly women.

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