Last Sunday we responded to your answers to our survey concerning the rearrangement of the sanctuary. Weekly worship is a vital to all of us, as it is plain to see in your thoughtful and perceptive answers. Your candid and enthusiastic responses have encouraged us that you have been thinking liturgically and theologically about our worship space. Though a large majority favored the changes, most of the responses included some interesting insight into your understanding of the central elements and symbols of Lutheran worship. Nearly everyone offered ideas to modify the layout, whether the changes were helpful to you or not. As you can see, we have made some modifications that were encouraged by many of your responses:
We moved the piano, percussion and music team further back on the chancel area, enough so that they can still lead us in singing, and yet they are not the focal point of our worship.
We elevated the communion table and the reading stand to center them in worship, and we moved them back slightly to give more room for communion and the children’s sermon.
We rerouted all of the cables and wires that made everything look cluttered, and tried to find a way to hide many of the chords and minimize the appearance of those that might still be visible.
We moved the liturgical worship leaders (pastors, assisting minister and acolyte) up to the chancel area to both make our movement to the table simpler, and to show that the music and liturgical leaders together lead worship.
We added space between the rows of chairs to give everyone more room, and to maintain the curvature in the seating area, a change you nearly all appreciated. The changes we have made are not permanent, but rather are meant to focus on certain ideas and events in worship that we feel are important. During Lent we will return to the previous set-up in the chancel area, and we will focus on the central nature of baptism. The seating will remain the same. During Holy Week and Easter, we will bring the chancel changes back as we prepare for another Cantata on Palm Sunday.
We invite you to remain engaged in thoughtful discernment about our symbols and practices in worship. In fact we would welcome individuals who are interested to be involved in a creative worship planning team which will consider these things and more with the goal to create rich and meaningful worship services that enable us to lay aside the distractions of the world and to focus on the God who alone deserves our worship. Speak to Jonathan Lonsway for more information.