Monthly Archives: September 2012

Visited 3 Churches Last Sunday: New Church Season

I visited three churches last Sunday as promised in my previous blog post (click here to read). In that post, I noted that this is the time of year churches, with summer worship schedules, commence meeting on their fall/winter schedules.

St. John UMC’s 50th Anniversary Homecoming celebration was a fun time with their gymnasium almost full of good-natured attendees who would have normally attended one of the 3 or 4 services this time of year. A time capsule from 25 years ago was opened and discussed. There was special music, readings, and an excellent message by Rev. Dave Beckett, the Alaska Superintendent of the United Methodist Conference. Beckett shared ways membership declines can be arrested, and true growth achieved through natural missional spirit. A large number of new members were also accepted into fellowship by Senior Pastor Peter Perry during the service. A potluck fellowship luncheon immediately followed the worship service.

I dropped in on Amazing Grace Lutheran Church and chatted briefly with Pastor Marty Dasler. The members were still being served a fellowship luncheon, and were seated in various rooms in various areas of their building. Pastor Marty discussed their last service where an Olympic theme was employed to make the Bible message stickier. I was warmly invited to join them for the luncheon, but had to make one other stop.

My last visit was to Trinity Presbyterian Church. Their members were also eating a post worship meal in various areas of the church. Associate Pastor Tammie Letts warmly greeted me as I entered and also invited me to join them for lunch, which I declined.

I visited these churches as each of them have exemplified the things I look for in my church visits and seem to be consistent in doing so. They offer warm greetings, Christian Hospitality, music for worship and not entertainment, and strong Bible-centered messages. Other churches offer some of these values too, but I love to occasionally drop in on consistent churches to bask in the warmth of true Christian values.

Thanks St. John, Amazing Grace, and Trinity for the hospitality offered last weekend.

It’s That Time of Year: Church Service Times Are Changing Again

Each year, many area churches skinny down worship schedules to accommodate those who practice a more casual lifestyle during the summer. This might include parishioners who worship with a fishing rod or gun in their hands, or are enjoying their remote cabins for some well-needed R&R.

Accordingly, with school back in session and Labor Day past, those same churches expand back to their old schedules anxiously hoping they’ve not lost any parishioners in the process. It’s risky changing church schedules, as inevitably churches lose members with abbreviated or consolidated schedules. I’ve heard a few horror stories about huge member losses due to ill-conceived worship schedule changes.

Anchorage churches that slimmed their schedules down during the summer are resuming their old worship schedules this weekend and next weekend. So it might be best to check first to ensure your arrival does not correspond with a dead spot in your church’s schedule.

I’m a huge proponent of not changing church worship schedules. Many times visitors are sorely disappointed to find their intended church visit could not be accomplished because of an unknown schedule schedule not addressed in the Yellow Pages they consulted, or even the church website.

My hat is off to those churches who are schedule-consistent from year-to-year. I’m sure visitors and members are hugely satisfied with these churches. And too…I’ve never discovered any Bible reference advising to vary the schedule to the convenience of the pastor or member. Rather the Bible talks of “…where two or three are gathered together…” or “…not forsaking assembling together…”. Jesus said “…the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath…”.

Enjoy church this weekend! Many churches are holding special occasions to celebrate normalcy of worship schedules. BBQ’s and special get-to-gather’s are being announced all over the Anchorage Bowl over the next two weekends. I’ll be attending and posting some of these. Comment here if you are aware of any of these celebrations the public might be interested in attending.

Some Worship Change Examples:

St. John UMC – one 10 a.m. worship Sunday – 50th Anniversary Homecoming. Return to four services on 9/16/12

Amazing Grace Lutheran – Fall/Winter schedule starts Sunday. 8:15, 9:45 & 11:00. Rally Day Olympics for 11:00 a.m. service. Potluck with church-provided BBQ.

Trinity Presbyterian – normal morning service Sunday. Special lunch at noon on 9/9/12.

ChangePoint – two services only September 30. Special meal, prayer, and celebration at 5 p.m.

Faith Christian Community – adding 1 p.m. service starting September 16 to make three services on Sunday, and one on Saturday.

Christ Our Savior Lutheran – summer schedule Sunday. Designated Rally Sunday, i.e., “Come Back to Church” and 34th Anniversary. One service at 10 a.m. Potluck after. Return to two services on 9/16/12.