Thursday 20 September 2018
Our strategic priority is Children and
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
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
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
The goal in mind is that children and families…
Are welcomed and belong
Are introduced to the Christian faith and become
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
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,
Questions and Answers
1 Q Why are we making these changes to the
pattern of Sunday Services ?
A 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?
A 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
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?
A 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
A 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?
A 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?
A Yes. The two largest Anglican churches in our
area, Christ Church Purley and Emmanuel, do this and they seem to continue to
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?
A 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?
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?
A Most of the
time, the Family Service will be led by the clergy albeit with lay support on
13 Q If the choir cannot cover two services, where will the
music for the Family service come from?
A 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?
A 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
15 Q Is this simply “dumbing down” current
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 God’s Word will
look different; but the content remains as true and challenging as ever it has
16 Q Are there any implications for "Fresh
Encounters" as a result of these changes?
17 Q So are we going to become a “happy clappy” church?
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 clappy” church.
18 Q Is Family Fun superseded by these new
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
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
A We cannot
know how long it will take but we are confident that we are called
to make these changes to continue God’s 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
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
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!
Who are these services for?
A EVERYBODY will be welcome at
either or both!