Starting this Fall: Returning to Two Services

East Shore Unitarian Church is returning to two services starting Sunday September 16, 2018!

Since the Fall of 2015, we’ve had one service and are excited to announce that we will be returning to a two service schedule on Sunday mornings starting September 16th, excluding summer months between Memorial Day and the Sunday after Salmon Bake. We’re sure many of you have questions about how the two services will work.

Services will start at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., and programming for children and youth, including preschool, will be available for both services. Below is an FAQ, which will also be posted on our website, for you to look through. These FAQs have been generated from the questions and concerns brought up in discussions with teams and committees over the last month. You are welcome to contact us with additional questions and for support navigating this change. Go East Shore!

FAQs:

Why are we doing this? The one service has been fine!
Returning to our offering of two services on Sunday morning works to support the democratically voted upon mission and vision of East Shore, found in our Bylaws, as well as one of this fiscal year’s Board Ends: By 2019, we will achieve membership growth (new members and retention) to sustain the church through increased generational and cultural diversity. Having two services will increase our ability to provide meaningful opportunities for worship, education, and volunteerism at our church.

Why don’t we wait until the Developmental Minister arrives?
Waiting until a Developmental Minister arrives to make decisions for next year wouldn’t allow enough time for program planning and scheduling time. We are beginning this change now to ensure all teams can plan for two services and to create a positive and thriving year together. A Developmental Minister will want to see a congregation willing to grow and transform. Moving toward two services this fall will indicate positive vitality to any potential developmental minister. The U.U.A. assures us that they are doing all they can to place a developmental minister by August 1st.

Who made this decision?
Offering only one service was a decision made in response to not having a minister and for needing lay lead services. The decision to return to two services is an operational decision, made by the Staff Leadership Team with the support of the Board of Trustees and with confidence that our church can realize our vision of a diverse, welcoming community. We trust that moving to two services is an achievable step toward growth.

What will be the differences between the two services?
Two services will be an opportunity to offer a more broad and varied selection of worship services. We have heard feedback from the congregation about wanting to include more diversity in music, prayer, meditation, and hymns, along with readings and sermons. Our church is a place to deepen spiritually and to come together for faith formation. Offering different avenues for different people during the two worship services and RE programs will strengthen our ability to do just that!

Will the choir sing at both services?
The 9:00 a.m. service will include lay lead music and opportunities for visiting musicians and groups. The 9:00 a.m. service will not include the choir. The Worship Committee with the cooperation of the Music Director is excited about making this happen. The 11:00 a.m. service will closely resemble the present single service.

In the past, the turnaround time was really tight, how will this be different?
In the past, the two services were 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Starting on September 16th, the first service will be held at 9:00 a.m., and the second service will be held at 11:00 a.m. This will increase our time to ready the Sanctuary, and for coffee hour, as well as open up spaces for parking during the second service.

Will the Sanctuary feel too empty?
Offering two services allows for visitors and members to come to church at the time that best suits them. When there is space in the pews, visitors may feel that that space is just for them! One service inhibits growth while two services offers more worship, education, visiting, and volunteer opportunities.

What about volunteers?
Sunday mornings are our busiest community times. We have worship, meetings, ushering and greeting, membership table, coffee hours, and religious education. Having two services can help inspire member integration and participation in a variety of ways. It also allows all our volunteers an opportunity to attend a service, while still serving the church.

How will coffee hour work?
There will be a coffee hour after each service. We can simplify refreshments and food for coffee hour and that will be less stressful on those hosting it. Coffee hour can be a time to welcome visitors and connect with other members. The hosting team will be able to focus on their duties as hosts as well as socializing with the congregation.

How will RE work? Will childcare be available for both services?
The preschool room will be open for our youngest children all Sunday morning. At 9:00 a.m., a multi-age program in Spring Hall will be based on faith development and age appropriate learning. The 11:00 a.m. service will have a story for all ages in the Sanctuary and curriculum in our classrooms will utilize the open source U.U.A. Tapestry of Faith program. Middle school and high school youth groups will be held during the second service. Additional children and youth classes, such as Coming of Age and OWL, will also be held during the first service, between services, and after the second service. Volunteer teachers will continue to be trained with our curricula to serve our children and youth in the classrooms and for our RE events.

What options will we have for committee/team meetings?
Committees and teams will be able to choose from a variety of available times to meet, such as prior to the first service, during the first service, between services, during the second service, after the second service, or later in the afternoon.

Will Salmon Bake/BBQ be affected?
During the summer months, starting Memorial Day weekend through Salmon Bake Sunday, we will have one worship service and a simultaneous RE program, as has been the tradition.

What about the Thanksgiving Potluck?
Large, Sunday, all-church events will happen only after the second service. For example, the Thanksgiving Potluck will happen after 12pm the Sunday before/after Thanksgiving.

I still have questions!
We anticipated this! Again, these FAQs were generated from discussions with some but not all church members and committees. Thank you to all who have shared concerns and feedback while we have worked toward the two services decision and schedule. Please email us with more questions.

We look forward to continuing our growth of the East Shore Community.

Sincerely,

Staff Leadership Team