Trying on a New Sunday Schedule

Experimental Adjustments to the Sunday Morning Schedule, 6/11 – 9/24

Saint Luke’s has decided, in an effort to better integrate our Sunday morning schedule into the life of the surrounding community, to experiment with moving the time of our sanctuary worship up to 10:30am. This “summer schedule experiment” will begin on June 11th and run through September 24th. Feedback from the whole congregation will be solicited in August and September about the changed schedule, and if it is generally preferable, the changes will be made permanent.

The Sunday morning chapel worship service will continue to begin at 8:30 am. The experimental schedule is designed to be more time efficient, so additional care will be taken to keep worship times to forty-five minutes in the chapel and one hour in the sanctuary. Below is a simple chart of the Sunday morning schedule, current and new.

EVENT                                        CURRENT TIMES                               NEW TIMES 6/11-9/24

Chapel Worship                                  8:30am – 9:20am                             8:30am – 9:15am

Sunday School                     9:30am – 10:30am                           9:30am – 10:15am (except during July)

Choir Warm-up                                     10:30am – 10:55 am                       10:00am – 10:25am

Sanctuary Worship                           11:00am – 12:00pm                       10:30am – 11:30am

The Sunday schedule experiment is based on strong themes of the extensive feedback that the church recently collected from its largest demographic group, families with children and youth, collected by anonymous surveys and formally convened discussion groups. Included in the feedback were themes like “we love Saint Luke’s” and “Sunday afternoon activities have made it increasingly difficult to attend Saint Luke’s regularly.” Families expressed a general sense that Sunday mornings finish too late to get to Sunday afternoon programming, and noted the strain of the lengthy time currently scheduled between Sunday School and the 11 am sanctuary worship service. A majority of churches in our area have now also moved their worship services to 10:30 am, presumably in response to similar community themes.

The church Program Staff received and analyzed this feedback, proposing the change to the church’s Worship and Christian Education committees, and then to the church’s Session. An extended conversation was also conducted with the church choir, whose schedule is affected by the change, and they were supportive of the experiment. Committees and the Session approved the schedule experiment unanimously. The Session extended the timeline for the experiment through September so that general conclusions about the change can be more adequately drawn. If the new schedule seems to fit better in the life of the Saint Luke’s congregation, as we expect it will, the change will be made permanent. If not, the schedule will be rolled back to its previous state in October.

We realize this change is soon and significant, but expect positive results. We anticipate and look forward to working with different constituencies to address any necessary adaptations along the way. And we certainly hope that these changes, a response to the feedback of our families with children and youth, will result in their increased attendance! Please feel free to be in touch with any of us if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for your flexibility as we work to make worship and faith learning at Saint Luke’s all it can be!

Sincerely, The Saint Luke’s Program Staff

David, Shannon, Phil, Catherine Anne, Carol, and Clair