Worship Ministry and Vision 2028

 

A little over a year ago, Worship Ministry was looking back at the 2018-2019 budget year to consider what we had accomplished and what we hoped to do during the 2019-2020 year as it related to Session’s Vision 2028.

We had just come through a meaningful Lenten Season and were especially pleased with the range of active participation on Maundy Thursday with participants able to receive communion, to be anointed with oil, and/or to have their feet washed.

To build on the Vision 2028 theme of diversity, during World Communion Sunday we had several of the bread carriers dress in clothing native to their heritage, stressing the different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds represented in our congregation.

To stress the spiritual importance of communion, we restored the historic practice of bringing in the Bread and Chalice just prior to Communion.  That transitionary ritual alerted the congregation to this shift in our worship experience and heighten the spiritual attentiveness.

 

As we moved into 2020, we looked forward with hopeful anticipation that Pastor Eunbee would soon be joining us, Unfortunately, February brought a surprise visitor as the coronavirus emerged as a danger to the safety of the congregation.

 

We first addressed our fears by discouraging shaking hands during the passing of the peace and by encouraging hand sanitizing.  Over the next two-three weeks, we ratcheted up our care for the safety of the congregation by suspending the passing of the peace and asking people to pick up bulletins instead of having ushers hand them out.  We tried serving communion with gloves and tongs, but soon realized we couldn’t safely do more than demonstrate communion.  On March 11, in response to guidelines from Yolo County, Pastor Chris, and church leaders made the painful decision to close down Sunday services and other activities on the DCC campus, hopeful that we might be able to go back to “normal” before Holy Week.

 

Suddenly, we had a congregation of people we couldn’t see face-to-face and little time to meet the challenge of keeping people connected to services, sermons, hymns, other members, and we couldn’t even let them in the sanctuary.

 

Pastor Chris put together a team of people from worship ministry and beyond who had areas of technical or musical expertise, had strengths in communications and bringing people together, or just wanted to help. Soon, Pastor Chris and the team were delivering 45-minute weekly church services available over the internet.  We prayed for guidance and moved forward, not sure whether people would follow through on their pledges so we could keep paying our staff and the bills that would keep coming in.

 

By early April, under the leadership of Elisa Stone, “Care Gone Viral” brought together people in groups to call and email each other to maintain connections.  Like many other groups at DCC, three dozen members of the Worship ministry began making phone and email contacts with each other and others in the congregation. Terms like Zoom, bandwidth, sound-mixing, YouTube, Facebook, and working from home that had never appeared in the minutes of Worship Ministry quickly became commonplace issues we needed to address.

 

We discovered that we needed to find funding to upgrade the whole system of delivery of the sermons to create the sermons and other materials being generated.  Just as we were wondering how to afford the upgrades, Tremont Church in Dixon expressed a need for Presbyterian hymnals and Worship Ministry donated 60 hymnals.  To our surprise, they responded with a $1,000 donation, and our system is upgraded, although there will still be ongoing needs for future funding.

 

We see now that the church of tomorrow is no longer a theoretical discussion; it is something we have responded to in real time and will need to address one challenge and opportunity at a time for the foreseeable future.  We are grateful to learn that so many members have continued their generous donations and pledges to meet Vision 2028’s goal to help DCC and the people we serve “thrive – body, mind, and soul.”

 

Worship Ministry and DCC can’t do this without you.

 

With prayerful thanks, the DCC Worship Ministry.

 

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