Category : Liturgy, Music, Worship

Thursday Food for Thought–Aristides on the Early Christians

But the Christians, O King, while they went about and made search, have found the truth; and as we learned from their writings, they have come nearer to truth and genuine knowledge than the rest of the nations. For they know and trust in God, the Creator of heaven and of earth, in whom and from whom are all things, to whom there is no other god as companion, from whom they received commandments which they engraved upon their minds and observe in hope and expectation of the world which is to come. Wherefore they do not commit adultery nor fornication, nor bear false witness, nor embezzle what is held in pledge, nor covet what is not theirs. They honour father and mother, and show kindness to those near to them; and whenever they are judges, they judge uprightly. They do not worship idols (made) in the image of man; and whatsoever they would not that others should do unto them, they do not to others; and of the food which is consecrated to idols they do not eat, for they are pure. And their oppressors they appease (lit: comfort) and make them their friends; they do good to their enemies; and their women, O King, are pure as virgins, and their daughters are modest; and their men keep themselves from every unlawful union and from all uncleanness, in the hope of a recompense to come in the other world.

Further, if one or other of them have bondmen and bondwomen or children, through love towards them they persuade them to become Christians, and when they have done so, they call them brethren without distinction. They do not worship strange gods, and they go their way in all modesty and cheerfulness. Falsehood is not found among them; and they love one another, and from widows they do not turn away their esteem; and they deliver the orphan from him who treats him harshly. And he, who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him in to their homes and rejoice over him as a very brother; for they do not call them brethren after the flesh, but brethren after the spirit and in God. And whenever one of their poor passes from the world, each one of them according to his ability gives heed to him and carefully sees to his burial. And if they hear that one of their number is imprisoned or afflicted on account of the name of their Messiah, all of them anxiously minister to his necessity, and if it is possible to redeem him they set him free. And if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food. They observe the precepts of their Messiah with much care, living justly and soberly as the Lord their God commanded them. Every morning and every hour they give thanks and praise to God for His loving-kindnesses toward them; and for their food and their drink they offer thanksgiving to Him. And if any righteous man among them passes from the world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God; and they escort his body as if he were setting out from one place to another near. And when a child has been born to one of them, they give thanks to God; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who has passed through the world without sins. And further if they see that any one of them dies in his ungodliness or in his sins, for him they grieve bitterly, and sorrow as for one who goes to meet his doom.

Such, O King, is the commandment of the law of the Christians, and such is their manner of life. As men who know God, they ask from Him petitions which are fitting for Him to grant and for them to receive. And thus they employ their whole lifetime. And since they know the loving-kindnesses of God toward them, behold! for their sake the glorious things which are in the world flow forth to view. And verily, they are those who found the truth when they went about and made search for it; and from what we considered, we learned that they alone come near to a knowledge of the truth. And they do not proclaim in the ears of the multitude the kind deeds they do, but are careful that no one should notice them; and they conceal their giving just as he who finds a treasure and conceals it. And they strive to be righteous as those who expect to behold their Messiah, and to receive from Him with great glory the promises made concerning them. And as for their words and their precepts, O King, and their glorying in their worship, and the hope of earning according to the work of each one of them their recompense which they look for in another world,-you may learn about these from their writings. It is enough for us to have shortly informed your Majesty concerning the conduct and the truth of the Christians. For great indeed, and wonderful is their doctrine to him who will search into it and reflect upon it. And verily, this is a new people, and there is something divine (lit: “a divine admixture”) in the midst of them.

The Apology of Aristides, XV-XVI

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

(NYT) For a Second Year, Jews Mark the High Holy Days in the Shadow of Covid

The leadership at Central Synagogue in Manhattan had big plans this year for the Jewish High Holy Days: After celebrating via livestream during the pandemic last fall, they rented out Radio City Music Hall for a grand celebration.

But the spread of the Delta variant has upended those plans. Now, they’ll still use the 5,500-seat music hall, but only at 30 percent capacity. And everyone must show proof of vaccination and wear masks.

“In some ways, last year was easier to plan because it was so absolutely clear we would be gathering virtually,” said Angela W. Buchdahl, the synagogue’s senior rabbi. “This year we certainly expected all the way until early July that we would be able to be in person for this year’s High Holy Days.”

Many congregations plan their celebrations for the High Holy Days, which are among the most important dates in the Jewish calendar, months in advance. But the recent surge of coronavirus cases has driven synagogues across the New York region — home to the largest concentration of Jews outside of Israel — and around the country to address safety concerns they had thought had been rendered moot by the arrival of the vaccines.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Judaism, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CT) Why the UN’s Dire Climate Change Report Is Dedicated to an Evangelical Christian

His concerns about greenhouse gases, rising temperature averages, dying coral reefs, blistering heat waves, and increasingly extreme weather were informed by his training at as atmospheric physicist and his commitment to science. They also come out of his evangelical understanding of God, the biblical accounts of humanity’s relationship to creation, and what it means for a Christian to follow Christ.

“We haven’t lived up to the call to holiness,” Houghton’s granddaughter Hannah Malcolm explained to CT. “We’ve been conformed to the patterns of this world, with the desire for wealth accumulation and the desire to increase our comforts, and that’s not the demand that is placed upon us as followers of Christ.”

Houghton was born in a Baptist family in Wales in 1931. As a young man he realized he needed to make a personal decision for Christ, and he did. To the end of his life, Houghton described it as the most important choice he’d ever made.

His love for God fueled his love for science. He saw it as a way to worship.

“The biggest thing that can ever happen to anybody is to get a relationship with the one who has created the universe,” Houghton told a Welsh newspaper in 2007. “We discover the laws of nature when we do our science. So we discover what’s behind the universe and if there’s an intelligence and a creator behind it. What we’re doing as Christians is exploring our relationship with the person who is the creator of the universe. Now that’s something that is absolutely wonderful.”

Read it all.

Posted in Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(NYT) Houses of Worship Struggle Back, and Tread Lightly on Vaccines

The weekly rhythms of Catholic life have started to return at Our Lady of Lourdes in Harlem. The pews are packed on Sunday mornings, prayer groups meet after work and the collection plate is almost as full as it was before the coronavirus pandemic began.

But parishioners are starting to worry about the virus again.

“For a little while everyone felt more free, not using masks and things like that,” said the Rev. Gilberto Ángel-Neri, the pastor. “But now that we hear all the news about the Delta variant, everyone is using masks again.”

The progress made at Father Ángel-Neri’s church, and at houses of worship across New York City, may be threatened by a rise in virus cases in the past month and by an uneven patchwork of rules governing vaccination that can differ from one place to another.

New rules that have been enacted in recent weeks to curb the spread of the virus’s more contagious Delta variant require New Yorkers to show proof of vaccination to participate in many indoor activities, including sitting inside restaurants or bars, going to a gym or nightclub and visiting a museum or zoo. But they do not apply to religious services.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

J I Packer on the Gospel in the Liturgy

The gospel is the good news that God is love. ‘In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins’ (1 John 4:8-10). The background of the gospel is God’s wrath and judgment against us sinners. The heart of the gospel is the double truth of propitiation for sin, and remission of sin – through the cross of Christ, atonement by blood, and justification by faith. ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them…. He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the ighteousness
of God in him’ (2 Cor. 5:19, 21).

The gospel of free forgiveness through Christ crucified appears as the mainspring of worship throughout the whole Prayer Book, and it is noticeable that current discontent with the Prayer Book is strongest among those whose grasp on this gospel is most suspect. A modern prophet, in an article entitled Un-Christian Liturgy, has censured the Prayer Book stress on guilt and pardon as morbid and unhealthy. Our own judgment goes rather with [Charles] Simeon [1759-1836]:

‘I seek to be, not only humbled and thankful, but humbled in thankfulness, before my God and Savior continually. This is the religion that pervades the whole Liturgy, and particularly the Communion Service; and this makes the Liturgy inexpressibly sweet to me. ‘The repeated cries for mercy to each Person of the ever-adorable Trinity for mercy, are not at all too frequent or too fervent for me; nor is the Confession in the Communion service too strong for me; nor the Te Deum, nor the ascriptions of glory after the Lord’s Supper, Glory be to God on high, etc. too exalted for me this shows what men of God the framers of our Liturgy were, and what I pant, and long, and strive to be. ‘This makes the Liturgy as superior to all modern compositions, as the work of a Philosopher on any deep subject is to that of a schoolboy who understands scarcely anything about it.’

The Gospel in the Prayer Book (Marcham Manor Press, 1966)

Posted in --Book of Common Prayer, Church History, Soteriology

A Prayer to begin the day from the 1549 BCP

O ALMIGHTIE and mercifull Lord, which givest unto thy elect people the holy Ghost, as a sure pledge of thy heavenly kingdome : Graunt unto us, O Lord, thy holie spirit, that he may beare witnesse with our spirit, that wee be thy children, and heires of thy kingdome, and that by the operation of this thy spirit we may kill all carnall lusts, unlawfull pleasures, concupiscences, evill affections, contrarie unto thy will, by our Saviour and Lord Iesus Christ. Amen.

Posted in --Book of Common Prayer, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel and Henry Purcell

Almighty God, beautiful in majesty and majestic in holiness, who dost teach us in Holy Scripture to sing thy praises and who gavest thy musicians Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel and Henry Purcell grace to show forth thy glory in their music: Be with all those who write or make music for thy people, that we on earth may glimpse thy beauty and know the inexhaustible riches of thy new creation in Jesus Christ our Savior; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

Monday Mental Health Break–Steadfast Love by Shane & Shane

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Weldon Johnson

Eternal God, we give thanks for the gifts that thou didst bestow upon thy servant James Weldon Johnson: a heart and voice to praise thy Name in verse. As he gave us powerful words to glorify you, may we also speak with joy and boldness to banish hatred from thy creation, in the Name of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

Saturday Music–Gloria in excelsis Deo – latin chant

Enjoy it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship

(BBC) How one family single-handedly kept a town’s church bells ringing by reuniting during the pandemic

The Bints, who live in Chagford in Devon, formed a support bubble when their children returned home at the start of the crisis.

Jon Bint said it meant they were in a “unique” position to ring the bells in line with Covid-19 guidance.

He described the family’s experience as a “one-off moment in time”.

Many parishes across the UK fell silent during lockdown as churches were forced to close, and social distancing made it difficult for more than one household to ring the bells.

The family affair began when Mr Bint first met his wife bell-ringing more than 30 years ago.

Over the years they passed on their skills to their two sons Joe and Gabe, and more recently, their daughters Holly and Morwenna.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Thursday Afternoon Mental Health Break–Tenth Avenue North – I Have This Hope

Listen to it all and if you want the lyrics they are available if you click the link underneath the video on Youtube.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship

Food for Thought on Worship from a brand new book on Anglicanism

Worshiping the God who is triune makes a substantial difference to what true worship actually is. The doctrine of the Trinity means that Christian worship is a sharing in the Son’s union with his Father, through the Holy Spirit. Our union with Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit is the basis for this sharing of God’s people together in the divine life of God. We stand to worship God by means of the mediatory ministry of Jesus before the Father, to which we are drawn by the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. As our great high priest, he sanctifies us by his blood, which he himself offered. This understanding of our relationship to the triune God was in part responsible for the Reformation’s rejection of the medieval concept of priesthood—since Christ is our supreme and exclusive mediator before God. As Torrance puts it, “The doctrine of the Trinity is the grammar of this participatory understanding of worship and prayer.”

–Michael P. Jensen, Reformation Anglican Worship:Experiencing Grace, Expressing Gratitude (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2021), p. 42

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Books, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Tuesday Mental Health Break–Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium sung by VOCES8

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for Memorial Day–Eternal Father, Strong to Save (The Navy Hymn)

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Military / Armed Forces

Eleanor Parker–‘O three and one without ending’: a wittily clever medieval song to the Holy Trinity

One of the points I like to emphasise on this blog is that (contrary to what many people believe who know nothing about the subject) medieval religious literature is often full of creativity, imagination and joy. Here’s a perfect example: this is a witty, playful, exuberant medieval carol on the subject of – of all things – the Holy Trinity. I’ve heard many a solemn, pained sermon on the Trinity, complaining about how difficult it is for us to understand, how it’s always been a stumbling block for believers and a trial to the unwary preacher. That’s how our age approaches mystery and complexity; but in the fifteenth century, they wrote carols about it. That’s how creative medieval religion could be.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

A Trinity Sunday Doxology

To God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts: to the one true God be all love and all glory for time and for eternity.

–Thomas Ken (1637-1711)

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Paul Zahl–How Mary And I Spent Holy Week, 1973

Two days later I was pinned against the wall by the soullessness of Harvard Divinity School. Alone, I attended a sunrise Easter service on the roof of Divinity Hall. Krister Stendahl, who was then Dean, preached and conducted the service. He told us that the only trustworthy Resurrection text in the Bible was St. Mark 16:8c: “… and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.” Let me repeat that: the famous New Testament scholar Krister Stendahl, one of the founders of the “New Perspective on Paul,” told his congregation on Easter morning 1973 that the Resurrection appearances of Jesus are all “untrustworthy” except Mark 16:8c. And that what Christians need to do and be on Easter morning is be afraid. This really happened.

As if to pour salt in the wound, the rector of Our Saviour, Arlington, said something comparable during the main service there later that Easter morning. (Mary was wearing a black-and-white dress and looked stunning.)

The rector said that his Easter sermon was to be his public announcement that he had recently found the meaning of his ministry for the next phase of his rectorship in Arlington. That meaning lay in a popular new form of therapy known as “Transactional Analysis” (i.e., “I’m OK/You’re OK”). The rector was hoping that the congregation would find joy in joining him during the next half of 1973 and also 1974 as together we would enhance our relationships through that system. This really happened.

Even while sitting there, with Mary, I kept thinking of Peggy Lee and her song from 1970 entitled, “Is That All There Is?” I mean, seriously, here were two back-to-back Christian services on Easter Sunday in which “the hungry sheep look up and are not fed” (Lycidas).

Well, that is how Mary and I spent Holy Week 1973. Thumbs up for Piero Paolo Pasolini; thumbs down for Dean Stendahl, Professor Cox, and the rector of Our Saviour.

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Eschatology, Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship, TEC Parishes, Theology: Scripture

Eleanor Parker–An Anglo-Saxon Hymn to St Dunstan

The text comes from Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church, ed. Inge B. Milfull (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 317-8. Here’s a translation:

Hail Dunstan, star and shining adornment of bishops, true light of the English nation and leader preceding it on its path to God.

You are the greatest hope of your people, and also an innermost sweetness, breathing the honey-sweet fragrance of life-giving balms.

In you, Father, we trust, we to whom nothing is more pleasing than you are. To you we stretch out our hands, to you we pour out our prayers….

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Tuesday Afternoon Encouragement–Zach Williams, Dolly Parton – There Was Jesus

Enjoy the whole thing.

Posted in Christology, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Easter 2021–Christus resurgens – William Byrd, John Rutter, The Cambridge Singers

Listen to it all.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(CT) A New Study Shows That Political Privilege Is Harmful for Christianity

Why is Christianity growing in some countries but declining in others?

For much of the 20th century, social scientists answered this question by appealing to the so-called secularization thesis: the theory that science, technology, and education would result in Christianity’s declining social influence.

More recently, some scholars have suggested the cause is rather the accumulation of wealth. Increasing prosperity, it is believed, frees people from having to look to a higher power to provide for their daily needs. In other words, there is a direct link from affluence to atheism.

In a peer-reviewed study published this month in the journal Sociology of Religion, my coauthor and I challenge the perceived wisdom that education and affluence spell Christianity’s demise.

In our statistical analysis of a global sample of 166 countries from 2010 to 2020, we find that the most important determinant of Christian vitality is the extent to which governments give official support to Christianity through their laws and policies. However, it is not in the way devout believers might expect.

As governmental support for Christianity increases, the number of Christians declines significantly. This relationship holds even when accounting for other factors that might be driving Christian growth rates, such as overall demographic trends.

Read it all.

Posted in Life Ethics, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

More Music for Easter–Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain

Lyrics:

1 Come, ye faithful, raise the strain
of triumphant gladness;
God hath brought his Israel
into joy from sadness;
loosed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke
Jacob’s sons and daughters;
led them with unmoistened foot
through the Red Sea waters.

2 ‘Tis the spring of souls today;
Christ hath burst his prison,
and from three days’ sleep in death
as a sun hath risen;
all the winter of our sins,
long and dark, is flying
from his light, to whom we give
laud and praise undying.

3 Now the queen of seasons, bright
with the day of splendor,
with the royal feast of feasts,
comes its joy to render;
comes to glad Jerusalem,
who with true affection
welcomes in unwearied strains
Jesus’ resurrection.

4 Neither might the gates of death,
nor the tomb’s dark portal,
nor the watchers, nor the seal
hold thee as a mortal:
but today amidst thine own
thou didst stand, bestowing
thine own peace, which evermore
passeth human knowing.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(CT) Makoto Fujimura Sings with God, Carries His Cross, and Awaits the New Creation

Fujimura believes that the Crucifixion reveals this theological vision in powerful ways. As he writes, “Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, Christ’s bloodshed, becomes an entry point of faith for all of us.” Artists, he argues, are uniquely able to witness to the hope of redemption amid brokenness by letting their artistry emerge from the traumas and tragedies of living in a fallen world:

Art literally feeds us through beauty in the hardest, darkest hours. … Through this wine of New Creation we can be given the eyes to see the vistas of the New, ears to hear the footsteps of the New, even through works by non-Christians in the wider culture.

Metaphors like “new wine” are among the key ways Fujimura expresses his vision. He draws heavily on the image of soil as a regenerative space where even our brokenness can testify, over time, to new creation. And he attests to the invaluable gift of tears as expressions of sanctification and consecration.

This theme of suffering is central to the book, as it is to Fujimura’s work as a fine artist. Art and Faith gives particular focus to the Japanese art form of Kintsugi, in which broken pottery is reformed using precious metals. The result, writes Fujimura, is a work of newly created beauty, “which now becomes more beautiful and more valuable than the original, unbroken vessel.”

In many insightful moments, Fujimura relates this redemptive vision of Kintsugi to experiences of suffering in his own life.

Read it all.

Posted in Art, Books, Evangelicals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture, Theology

(PR FactTank) Most Black Protestants say denominational affiliation is less important than inspiring sermons

Black churches are among the oldest and most influential institutions dedicated to supporting Black Americans. When they were first founded, denominations like the African Methodist Episcopal Church gave Black Americans a place to worship freely.

Over the years, Black congregations have not only offered a place of prayer for many Black worshippers, but also played a role in the advancement of Black Americans more generally – from supporting colleges to taking the lead in many civil rights causes.

Yet, when it comes to choosing a house of worship, most Black Americans don’t prioritize denominational labels. A welcoming congregation and inspiring sermons are far more important to them, according to a recent Pew Research Center report.

Only 30% of Black adults say that it would be “very important” to find a congregation in their current denomination if they were looking for a new house of worship, according to the survey, conducted Nov. 19, 2019-June 3, 2020. Far larger shares say it is very important to find a congregation that is welcoming (80%) or that has inspiring sermons (77%).

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Washington Post) Americans return to in-person church with emotion — and uncertainty about the future of worship

Since about Easter, attendance numbers at Christ Central have been on an upward trajectory, said Senior Pastor Owen Lee — which is part of a national trend. Pew reported that the percentage of people who said they went to a religious service in the past month went from 33 percent in July 2020 to 42 percent in March.

Pre-pandemic, the large Centreville church had to have two services to fit in 700 or 800 people on Sundays. When the shutdown began, many tuned in to a live stream. In September, when the church began offering limited, socially distanced in-person worship, it got about 20 or 30 people at one service, Lee said. That number stayed about the same until around Easter.

Since then, the numbers have risen. Last Sunday, 140 people attended. This Sunday, 76 people spread out among the wooden pews, facing toward the high-ceilinged stage, where Lee and other clergy stood below two large screens across which words, song lyrics and scripture bits pass. Musicians and singers were spread to their right and left.

Easter, he said, was the first time the room began to look populated.

“To see faces, to hear people singing together, greeting each other awkwardly — it was so good to be together, like family,” Lee said. “Some people were weeping. It was one of the sweetest days.”

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

More Music for Easter–John Rutter: Most Glorious Lord of Life

Listen to it all.

Lyrics:

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin,
And having harrow’d hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win.
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we may for whom thou diddest die,
Being with thy dear blood clean wash’d from sin,
May live for ever in felicity.
And that thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love thee for the same again;
And for Thy sake, that all like dear didst buy,
With love may one another entertain.
So let us love, dear love, like as we ought;
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.
The day of resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad;
The Passover of gladness, the Passover of God.
From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky,
Our Christ hath brought us over, with hymns of victory. Amen.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Easter–O clap your hands by Orlando Gibbons sung by the Cambridge Singers

The words are from Psalm 47. Listen to it all–KSH.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

The 100th Anniversary of John Stott’s Birth (V)–The full Service of Celebration for this Momentous Event from his home Parish of All Soul’s Langham Place

There are many wonderful people whom you will get to hear from–do take the time.

Posted in Church History, Evangelicals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

(LR) Slowly, but Surely and Safely: Churchgoers Plan to Return as Confidence Grows

For the first time in more than a year, Erin Mohring and her family attended church in person this past Sunday. They are not the only previously familiar faces returning to pews across the U.S.

A Lifeway Research study earlier this year found 9 in 10 Protestant churchgoers say they plan to return to in-person services once COVID-19 is no longer an active threat. Many of those who are just now returning or plan to return later were, like the Mohrings, active members of their congregation.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mohring said she and her family attended Sunday services and Wednesday night activities each week. After coronavirus cases began to spread across the U.S. last spring, however, they made the decision on March 15, 2020, to attend strictly remotely.

That became more difficult as their church moved back to in-person services. “The church we were attending when the pandemic hit did online services for a little while, but when group gatherings of any kind were allowed again in our area, the online services became an afterthought and eventually went away,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture, Sociology