A Transformed Saturday Service
The “high church” form of Episcopal worship practiced on Sunday is a source of rich inspiration and meaning for existing members, and it is one of the truly special things we offer our area, but even those of us who love it can acknowledge how it could feel overwhelming to some. It has been remarked to me that our worship feels a bit like sitting down in AP Chemistry class halfway through the school year. Some find the ritual and music exhilarating and holy, while others just feel lost. Therefore, the service will become simpler. We will reduce the number of liturgical components and draw on a smaller range of music. There will be fewer readings and less choreography. In this way, we hope to honor the existing 5:30 congregation, which greatly prefers the simple formula of the Saturday service.
Most who are new to the Episcopal Church, as well as many who’ve been members for some time, don’t know why we do what we do in worship. That feeling of unfamiliarity can become off-putting over time, but it is hard to perform instructed or informed Eucharistic services on Sunday morning, given the format and time constraints. Therefore, we seek to create a service style in which there is more instruction to educate congregants, more teaching in the sermon and a more relaxed homiletical style in general, and a variety of familiar acoustic instruments to lead the music. We want to foster a feeling of comfort in parishioners, even if they are new to the Episcopal Church.
The tradition of reverence expressed in the worship of Transfiguration is a core value, regardless of the service time, style, or congregation. The goal of this redevelopment is not to pretend we’re a megachurch, but to offer a distinct worshiping experience that feels fresh but also remains true to our Episcopal identity. Therefore, we seek to introduce liturgical elements that may be new to Transfiguration, while continuing to draw on the rich heritage of the Episcopal tradition and preserving the core value of reverence.
Those who are new to Transfiguration often need help feeling at home in our church, connecting to our congregational life, and participating in our worship. Therefore, we seek to expand the ministry of hospitality around this this service. We will ensure the campus is properly prepared to welcome parishioners on Saturday evening, including basic things like effective lighting and signage, an open nursery staffed with our amazing childcare workers, and simple refreshments before and after the service. Additionally, we’ll bolster our volunteer team at this service to include ushers and “shepherds,” who will assist newcomers during the service in finding their place and following along.