Grace and peace, dear AACRC community!

As the Pastor of Worship Arts, I wanted to write a brief word about changes coming this coming Sunday. I’ll start with some details, and then will transition to some broader commitments and rationales. 

What is happening this week in worship:

Worship streaming pilot: July 12th (and possibly the 19th) will be pilot Sundays, where only worship leaders will gather at 1717 Broadway. You are invited to tune-in to live streamed worship with our community at 10:30 am on Sunday via our YouTube channel. You will find both the service and the order of service on our website, just as in previous weeks. An archive will be available for those who aren’t able to join us for the live broadcast. I want to clarify that there will be no congregational gathering this Sunday at 1717 Broadway.

Communion this Sunday: You may ask, then: “what about communion this Sunday? Didn’t I hear something about that?” The answer is, yes, you did! We want to take this opportunity of our first Sunday live stream to come around God’s table, virtually. Pastor Ryan will lead us through the liturgy, and each of us, at home, will take the bread and cup. While elders may distribute elements in the future, this week there is no communion signup. Simply prepare bread and cup in your own home, and be ready to celebrate the Lord’s table.

Worshiping Christ in all seasons

If you’ve read this far, you should have all the details you need for the next week. If you read further, I hope you’ll gain a deeper understanding for our worship practices in these pandemic times.

Christians gather for worship to align ourselves with God’s great truth: that Jesus Christ at the center of the universe and our lives. Over the last few months, we have been challenged to think afresh about precisely how we align ourselves with God’s reality.

Our pivot to in-home worship—with a PDF liturgy and YouTube playlist—was designed to enact a rich, participatory worship that is so central to our Reformed identity. We have heard from you, worshiping in groups of one to a handful, that you feel blessed to be able to engage this experience at home, appreciating this unique opportunity to experience diverse voices in worship, our own and from the broader Christian community.

Several weeks ago, when the Stay-At-Home order was lifted, the Elders and pastoral staff accelerated conversations about what a return to in-person worship would look like. This return is, in many ways, something we’ve been looking forward to: we’ll get to experience Sunday mornings in the context of our beautiful sanctuary! At the same time, it is going to come with some significant grief: gatherings simply can’t look the same as they did in a pre-Covid19 world. For example, no more than 60 will be able to gather, and our singing will be extremely limited. The task—as always—is to provide a rich, public, participatory, communal worship that acknowledges and celebrates Christ’s lordship. What this looks like in practice must be responsive to the moment, for faithfulness to God is always connected to love of neighbor. The elders, Council, and staff will do our best to communicate our goals and plans, even as the data shifts daily.

I am so grateful to be in community with you. May Christ give us grace, wisdom and peace as we follow him through these pandemic days.

grace & peace,

-Pastor Noah