Dear Peace Mennonite Participants,

I’m excited to let you know that we will try out a new worship schedule beginning Sunday, November 20. Below you will find the specifics of the schedule first, so you can make note of the changes and continue to join us for worship. Below that, I address some questions you might have. Please feel free to reach out to me or another member of the Worship Committee with any further questions, suggestions, or concerns. ~Joanna

This schedule will be in effect beginning November 20 and continuing until our January congregational meeting date (tbd):

9:45—Zoom worship

10:30—Full community prayer gathering

(includes people on Zoom and people in the church building)

10:45—In-Person worship

What will happen during the full community prayer gathering?

In-person worshipers will be gathered in the church building and Zoom worshipers will be on Zoom. The Zoom screen will be projected on the front wall so those in person can see the Zoom participants. There will be a camera on the podium and one set up in front of the full congregation so those on Zoom can see the in-person worshipers. As a full community, we will share announcements, joys and concerns, and prayer together.

So when do I show up where for worship?

If you would like to worship on Zoom, log on by 9:45 Sunday morning. We will have our regular order of worship—minus the announcements and congregational prayer time. You will then have the option to log off at 10:30 or stay on to participate in the full community prayer gathering. Please know that turning off your camera is always an option if you are uncomfortable having your video projected for the in person worshipers. After the prayer gathering, Joanna will log out of Zoom to continue with the in-person worship while the Zoom worship leader will host the Zoom space for further conversation as desired.

If you would like to worship in person, you can arrive by 10:30 to join the full community prayer gathering or come at 10:45 for just the worship time.

If you want to invite friends to worship (and you do!), you will have the option to invite them to a worship experience that is a bit shorter and does not include the more Peace-specific announcements and prayer sharing. They can log onto Zoom at 9:45 and hop off at 10:30, or they can come in person at 10:45. Of course, guests are always welcome for the full community prayer gathering as well.

How did we decide to do this?

When Joanna returned from Sabbatical, she shared her worship learnings and thoughts with the worship committee, and the committee shared with Joanna about the conversations the congregation had regarding worship. After discussing a few potential worship structures, the worship committee recommended to the coordinating committee that we use this proposed worship schedule for a trial period. The coordinating committee approved this recommendation and decided to begin the new schedule November 20 and extend it to the Sunday of our January congregational meeting.

Why are we doing this?

We currently worship as two completely separate groups each Sunday–on Zoom and in person. Many of you have expressed a desire to connect these two congregations in some way. Based on Joanna’s experiences during sabbatical, we decided that a fully hybrid worship option would not provide the desired worship environment—for those on Zoom or those in person. Of the many ideas discussed by the worship committee, we felt that this one had the best potential of addressing the desire for connection while maintaining what participants value about the distinct worship options.

What can I do to help with this new worship structure?

·         Please be patient and flexible. We will have to experiment a bit to get the timing and the technology right.

·         Provide honest (and kind) feedback to the worship committee during this experiment so we can make adjustments as we go. (Committee members are: Roger Sims, Carola Ratzlaff, Jasmine Harader-Ellett, Cheryl Harader, and Sara Bonner.)

·         Offer technical assistance. It would be particularly helpful to have some volunteers who are willing to set up the camera that will be showing the congregation each week and some who will get the projector ready for the full community prayer gathering.

·         Volunteer for all the regular worship roles on Zoom or in person.

What happens at the January congregational meeting?

At the January meeting, we will discuss worship in general and what we think about this three-part worship structure in particular. We will seek consensus about how to structure our worship going forward.

Some potential outcomes of this discussion:

·         Continue with the Zoom/Community/In-Person structure. (In which case we might also decide to invest some money in better technology to make the full community prayer gathering time a better experience.)

·         Go back to our old two-service model—either with the current schedule (in-person @ 9:30 and Zoom @ 11) or an adjusted schedule.

·         Develop another option that we want to try for a designated period of time.

Thanks, everyone, for your willingness to go on this worship adventure with us!