This Sunday at each of the Eucharists there will be an exploration of the theology of worship and its tie to lay ministry. As you may know, the word liturgy comes from the Greek words for the work of the people. When we gather to pray in our services, the offerings are of all those assembled, not the paid staff or the clergy.
One of the challenges we have right now, along with all other Christian churches in this country, is that average worship attendance is down. The current average Sunday attendance in the Episcopal Church is once every 4-6 weeks. At St. Stephen’s the attendance of our regular parishioners is an average of once every 3-4 weeks.
The effect that this change on our community’s prayer life is that fewer people are here regularly to commit to Sunday ministries, which support our worship. From altar guild to ushers to hospitality, we are struggling to meet our parish’s needs in the old forms. This is leading us to experiment with new ways of filling these ministries.
We will be inviting you to consider assisting in our prayer life with a gift of your time and talent once a month. This may be as simple as washing the dishes at the end of the Eucharist. It could be helping to set the altar. You may help serve the chalice.
In our theology, prayer is not a spectator sport or a consumer good. Liturgy is a collective offering of all we are and all we have to the glory of God. Come and pray this Sunday and consider how you may move to deeper participation.
-The Reverend Lisa Hunt, Rector