As a four-year-old kid, I used my allowance to buy a 45 rpm record of The Beatles’ song, “Come Together.” I’m still fascinated by that song to this day. Amazing groove. One of the best bass lines ever. But as much as I love that song, I am even more enthusiastic about the recent decision of Elmhurst CRC’s Elders for us to “come together” as a congregation and community in a more profound way. The Elders have put in this way:
With a desire to promote a spirit of unity as we follow Jesus Christ (Romans 15:5), beginning in September 2021, we will adopt a single Sunday morning worship service that encourages worshipers to experience God through Bible-based and Spirit-filled worship.
This is a significant shift for our congregation. After more than 20 years of having separate worship services, the vision of our Elders is for ECRC to be one congregation experiencing God all together. There is a deep longing from the Elders for us to worship together, indoors in our sanctuary with robust singing and maximum participation.
In addition to the decision about fall worship, the Elders desired to name these five benefits as compelling reasons to shepherd ECRC in this direction:
- To unify our congregation after the pandemic
- To unify us on our mission to serve and witness in Jesus’s name (Matthew 28:18)
- To help us maintain our focus first and foremost on God
- To maximize participation and spiritual vitality in worship
- To provide added flexibility for enjoying community before and after worship
One of our Elders will be speaking to each of these benefits in our Sunday morning worship services over the next month. I will also be writing on this topic in successive weeks in hopes of communicating more of the heart and the “why” behind this significant change.
It’s more than fair to be full of questions, emotion, or perhaps a wave of joy or a wave of grief upon reading this. Please know that the Elders experienced, spoke to, and worked through these very same things. It took us many months to reach this point, but we did so with a powerful sense of peace, togetherness, and the Holy Spirit’s leading. It is my deep prayer that these same spiritual gifts will characterize the months ahead for Jesus’s people at Elmhurst CRC as we take steps to live into this change. We need more peace, togetherness, and the Holy Spirit’s leading.
I’ll conclude with just a few indications of what to expect when this change is officially implemented on September 12, 2021.
- Worship will be in the Sanctuary at 10:00 a.m.
- Nursery (ages still TBD) and Children’s Worship will be 100% up and running
- Choir will be back and more crucial than ever
- God’s person, presence, and Word will remain at the center
- We want to invite everybody to experience this in person. We hope for maximum attendance, energy, and participation.
- There will continue to be an online version of the service for those who can’t attend in person
God has brought Elmhurst CRC through floods, fire, and now a global pandemic. I am confident that some of our best days are still ahead of us, unified by God’s grace.
May God bless you with peace and the Spirit of unity,