I tend not to follow the rules. Just ask the Catholic nuns who exhaustingly tried to rear me. There are several unwritten rules of ministry. I'm afraid I've broken some rules since I joined you in 2013. For example, I once moved all the tables in Ministers Hall. I once moved the pulpit to the floor as an experiment. A new minister should never do that. When a minister arrives at a congregation his or her mantra should be, "Change is undesirable at this time...change is undesirable at this time...." Sometimes it's necessary to not follow the rules. For me rules are worth breaking if it's for the sake of growth for us as individuals, our spiritual maturity, and if the rule breaking will move us closer to the congregation you dream of. I'm sure you could share your own instances where not following the rules may be justified.
I've led you to an announcement. I have decided, as proposed to the Sanctuary Services Group, to change the format of the order of service. Take a few deep breaths and let me explain. I've observed that you wish to be better connected, to know the joys and concerns in our lives, to be reminded of what is going on in our congregational life. I've studied orders of service from many congregations. I believe I've developed an order of service that will better meet our evolving needs.
I've not changed most of what you find in our current order of service. I've formatted the order of service to allow us to connect, be informed, and act as valuable resource for visitors. The new format makes the order of service living. It's like stepping into a snapshot of our congregational life. It demonstrates how we worship, how we care for one another, and how we offer opportunities to grow deeper in our beliefs.
I had reservations about making this change. The order of service in congregations is a "sacred cow." As a sacred cow the order of service has been immune to tampering. Sometimes we create sacred cows that hold us back. In this instance I believe that our order of service could serve us, and our visitors, better. The change will move us closer to becoming the congregation we want to be.
I'm telling you this because the order of service you receive will soon change. I care that you understand that this wasn't a case of my preference or an impulsive decision. The change is based on what you, the congregation, is asking for. Try it on.
May we remain connected, cared for, and clued in.
Blessings, Rev. CJ