Richard writes…

“Getting the band back together!”

It’s entirely possible (if you’re younger than I) that you won’t get the Blues Brothers reference… But everyone can identify with the pleasure of meeting up with long-lost family or seeing old friends. There’s something wonderful about reunions!

We had a taste of that in All Souls this year on Easter Day when we were all able to worship together and we enjoy it each year in our Summer Sundays. Most recently, of course, it was part of the joy when we hosted Bishop Graham.

This January, we’ve a more long-term reunion to anticipate. Following informal conversations and with the full support of the PCC, this New Year, we will move our Sunday morning worship into a single 10 a.m. service, alongside our continuing afternoon gathering.

Looking back…

Two years’ ago we had good reasons for making the change to twin morning gatherings. We wanted, among other things, to make room for growth (especially given our very full children’s groups) and to make our welcome of visitors more effective and personal in (initially) smaller services. But we also committed to reviewing how the new pattern developed and to be willing to change if necessary.

In retrospect, the timings (which were the only ones that allowed us to fit in two morning services) were not ideal: 9 a.m. is early (especially if you’re turning up at 8.30 a.m. for children’s team!) and 11 a.m. finishes too late for some. We’ve also struggled to fill all our teams at the later service and it’s also not been clear that providing alternative times has opened doors to newcomers any wider than before.

From January 7th 2018 we will therefore have a single Sunday morning service at 10am, starting with refreshments at 9.40am.
The afternoon service will continue as now.

…planning ahead

Combining services means combining teams, too. We’ll be in contact to start planning for the new pattern. Everyone will be needed (and more besides – now’s a great time to consider volunteering), but we should at least find that there are more people to work alongside us as we enjoy a new chapter in our Sunday life together.

If you currently attend our 9.20 or 11.20 service, then I hope you’ll find that the new pattern works well for you and yours and that you’ll enjoy the new ‘feel’ to our larger service together. We’re going to work creatively at our welcome to make sure we don’t miss visitors and we’re committed to developing our children’s work and every aspect of our Sunday mornings to create space to continue to grow.

In the meantime, please do be in contact – on Sundays, by email or phone – with any questions or creative suggestions as we plan ahead.

Everything that we do as a church aims to give as many people as possible the chance to experience the transforming love of Jesus for themselves. I’m excited for what we will see in 2018 across our two services, our midweek groups and community ministries. Whichever service you’re currently part of, thanks for being part of the people of All Souls – it’s a great community to belong to!

Happy Reunion!