Changes to Sunday services in 2019

25 September 2018

Our strategic priority is Children and Families

Thursday 20 September 2018

 Our strategic priority is Children and Families.

Dear member of All Saints,

I am writing to tell you about significant changes that will be made in 2019 to our Sunday worship services.  After Easter we shall begin to introduce a new pattern.  Each Sunday, there will be one Traditional service, and one Family service (i.e. designed with children and families in mind).  It has not yet been decided which will come first, nor what the timings will be. 

The traditional service will be Anglican, liturgical, clergy-led and will follow Common Worship with suitable seasonal variations as now.

The family service will also be Anglican and clergy-led, but less liturgical, and with more modern singing.

Of course, everybody will be welcome at either or both!

I am convinced that these changes are vital and necessary for the life of All Saints Church.  So I ask for your support and prayers to help us to achieve the best possible outcome.   The leadership of All Saints has been wanting for a long time to introduce change in the service pattern.  At least seven years ago a decision was made; but somehow it did not happen.  At all events, this is neither hurried nor new.  

The goal in mind is that children and families…

·         Are welcomed and belong

·         Are introduced to the Christian faith and become Christians

·         Are baptised and later confirmed

·         Meet with us regularly for worship and teaching

·         Learn to be disciples of Jesus Christ for life

Together with the DCC, I have set up two consultative groups, one for each of the new services, to work on this.  There are a number of practical details (e.g. timings and which will come first) to sort out. 

Below is a set of Questions & Answers which we have prepared.  I do hope that the whole church will want to be involved so please talk together about this, e.g. in your homegroups.  I would welcome your comments and also your questions.

As we work and pray together to achieve this, I am sure that the Lord will guide us to attract and welcome many children and their families to worship and follow the Lord Jesus with us in All Saints.

With best wishes,

Martin Greenfield

Questions and Answers

1 Q  Why are we making these changes to the pattern of Sunday Services ?

We have to acknowledge we are an ageing congregation and our numbers are declining so we need to do something to reverse this trend. In our regular congregations, people in their mid-sixties (usually grandparents) are actually amongst our youngest 15% of members. As explained at the Annual General Meeting in March, the DCC has made work with Children and Families the top strategic priority. 

However, it is clear that our current worship services (8.30 and 10am) do not appeal to the younger families that we desperately need to attract in order to achieve a more balanced congregation.  Putting in place a “Family” service, which will appeal to families is therefore essential.


2 Q  How do we know what sort of service families want?

The simple answer is that we don't know for certain. What we do know however is that they do not attend the current services and feedback from those attending Sanderstead Light is a preference for a more informal style of service with modern uplifting songs. Generally, those local churches which are most successful in attracting younger families offer less formal services with more modern music. 


3 Q But do we know why they don’t attend?  Isn’t it just as likely to be to do with the timing of our services, or competing activities - eg shopping , sports activities, family visits etc.

A If we can make our services more relevant and attractive to younger families so that they enjoy coming along, then maybe they will choose to join us in preference to other potential activities.


4 Q What will happen to the choir?

We would like the choir to play a full and active part in our new style of service and we are engaging with John and the choir to invite them to help us in making this transition and give them an opportunity to express their views.There will continue to  be one traditional service each week,  and we will also need singers at the new Family service. There will be opportunities for some first-class traditional pieces to be performed by the choir and we hope also that the other concerts and musical events will continue.


5 Q  Will both the Traditional and Family services have music?

The Family service will have music each week and we anticipate that the Traditional service will usually have music. It is possible however that some weeks, the traditional service will be spoken rather than with hymns.  It is also open to us to make use of recorded music from time to time. 


6 Q  Does that mean that we will lose traditional hymns?

Not at all. Both services will include traditional hymns although those at the Family Services will generally be the more lively ones with a greater proportion of modern hymns / songs and a worship band


 7 Q What about all those people who have worked and served All Saints for many years?  Are their needs no longer of any importance?

A Their needs continue to be important to us, and will not be forgotten or pushed aside.  Although service times will change, traditional liturgical worship will continue each Sunday.


8 Q  Have other local churches followed this pattern of offering two services?

Yes.  The two largest Anglican churches in our area, Christ Church Purley and Emmanuel, do this and they seem to continue to be successful.


9 Q  Will the new Family service have the same content as our current 10.00 am service

A   It will feature prayers, bible readings, the creed and a sermon etc and a Eucharist some weeks, but in a less formal style than currently and will utilise our new AV screens to provide a really engaging new service.


10 Q  Will the weekly services link with Homegroups?

The sermons in both the Traditional and Family service are likely to be related if not the same, so the links with Homegroups will not be lost.


11 Q  Which services will include baptisms?

Both may.  However we expect that parents will usually choose to have baptisms in the Family service. 


12 Q  Will the Family service be led by the laity?

Most of the time, the Family Service will be led by the clergy albeit with lay support on occasion. 


13 Q If the choir cannot cover two services, where will the music for the Family service come from?

This will be a key issue to resolve but we have excellent resources already in our Choir and also our Band.  We may need to supplement them initially and DVDs and videos may help as we build a base of musicians


14 Q  What will happen to the 8.30 service?

The timings of the services have yet to be decided, but the format of the new Traditional service will be drawn from both the current 8.30 and 10am services.  We would anticipate using a Common Worship format with suitable seasonal variations.  In terms of music, at the moment the 8.30 service is said apart from one Sunday a month when hymns are sung to a piano accompaniment. In future up to 3 of the Traditional services a month are likely to have music and 1 might be said. 


15 Q Is this simplydumbing down” current services?

A No. We have a long tradition of effectively teaching God’s Word, which we know to be our mission as Christians which we do not intend to shirk. The means of communicating Gods Word will look different; but the content remains as true and challenging as ever it has been.


16 Q Are there any implications for "Fresh Encounters" as a result of these changes?

A  No


17 Q So are we going to become a happy clappychurch?

A Our aim is certainly that the new Family Services will be higher energy” than our existing traditional services, and the music will be more modern and uplifting and accompanied by singers and a worship band. It is not our expectation that we shall become an archetypal “happy clappychurch.


18 Q Is Family Fun superseded by these new arrangements?  

A Not immediately - we will need to keep it under review.  We realise that people will probably not want to come to both Family Fun and a Family service.  


19 Q Similar question for Sanderstead Light - is it superseded when the new arrangements kick in?  

A  There will be a new Sanderstead Light style of service starting in Church after Christmas  at which time Morning Worship will cease as Penny is stepping back from this service


20 Q How will we know if the new arrangements have succeeded?  

We cannot know how long it will take but we are confident that we are called to make these changes to continue Gods Ministry here in Sanderstead and the Lord will surely send us signs that we shall need to vigilantly watch for.  This is just one strand of our efforts to attract some younger members.


21 Q Is there any intention to bring the proposed new arrangements to the whole church? 

A We aren’t asking for a vote on these arrangements, but will listen to views expressed. 


22 Q  Will Jigsaw continue?

A  Yes.  The Jigsaw Sunday School will be held during the Family service.


23 Q  Why not leave 8.30 and 10am as they are, and just add an extra (3rd) service each Sunday?

A.  We simply do not have the people resources (stewards, servers, readers, pray-ers etc) to do this; and anyway, we want to make Children and Families our PRIORITY, not just an add-on!


24 Q  Who are these services for?  A  EVERYBODY will be welcome at either or both!


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