We appreciate the feedback on our Services which we have received recently through the Google feedback form. Some have given feedback through verbal conversations. There is something about giving feedback in writing as one is able to gather his/her thoughts and express them. Communication often comes through clearer via writing. Your feedback expresses your commitment and ownership of the Church. We will continue to reflect on them and your thoughts and prayers are important as we continue to tweak or shape our Services.
Now that we are consolidated into just one English Service at 9 am Sunday, this will be a season to build up this Service. There are generally 4 components to work at: Worship, Pulpit, Body life-Ministry (i.e altar calls, praying for one another, spiritual conversations) and post-Service fellowship.
In worship, Hannah will be joining our staff team to serve in Zimrah ministry (Worship & AV) and she, along with the musicians from Filipino ministry will bring a breath of fresh air and renewal, a process which will continue for some months. The current template is a worship set of about 4-5 songs, an offertory hymn and response/closing song. Preferably, a hymn should be used for offertory. There is a rich depository to draw from but we have to give time for our worship teams to get use to using these hymns. In part, the posture changes from the worship set, which is contemporary and leads worshippers to be aware of God's immediate presence. The roots of these songs goes way back to the charismatic renewal of the 70's, where worship transformed from "sing about" to "sing to" God, if I may generalize. There is a sense of God's immediate presence and work of the Spirit in our midst. Some of the renewal choruses also have a communal celebratory mood, engaging worshippers in joyful communal participation. One can understand why these newer ways of worship were so engaging and traditional liturgical appreciation were largely set aside. The contemporary culture have evolved somewhat and some today carry the cries of the current generation, a holy longing for His presence and to be able to live in holiness, which can be challenging in a digital and many easily accessed sources for self-destructive addiction. And what is virtual also influenced realities in our culture.
Our Service continue to be framed by the use of Anglican liturgy to guide us in confession, praying the collect and intercession. We are trying to ensure congregation's familiarity with the songs used - whether "old" or new - and this means, discipline is needed to ensure continual use to help us to familiarise.
Regarding the pulpit, I am sure many have noticed that post-Covid, we have settled into an average of 30-minute length. As Vicar, I will continue to maintain a minimum of two sermons per month to build pastoral connection and ensure some continuity in our sermon series. We continue to encourage our other pastors to grow in their preaching as well as the occasional guest preacher. Some of our lay leaders also share in the pulpit. Our Services should not exceed 90 minutes, even if there is Holy Communion.
On body-life ministry, we need to continue to believe in the power of mutual prayer ministry and the work of the Spirit. We will be more intentional in giving space for this. This can happen towards the end of the Service or even after the Service has ended.
As for post-Service fellowship, hardly any tweaks are needed as that is doing well. While some people see eating and drinking as minor and even irrelevant to our church life, I always beg to differ. Just by a cursory glance of the Bible, you will see that communal eating were commonplace in the Gospels and also as a part of worship (1 Cor 11:13-14). This was important because eating together is a communal experience. One can say that our Sunday Service is 2-hours long if you add the time spent in the Hall. This is good as there is not much in our Service which encourages communal interaction. What we need is more space and this can come through integrating the "playground area" and creating a door-access from the Community Hall. But this means more expenses. Currently our income-expenditure is just about break event. Any major building alterations will need additional fund-raising.
We have been hearing about the possibility of starting a second Morning Service. This will be an important milestone but we are not rushing into it. There is a need to raise a core team. Here is why of priority is to encourage the younger in the midst of us, especially young adults, to lead. In the earlier years of MPCC, the leaders were in their twenties and thirties. We need to give space for them to lead as they understand the needs of their generation.
We will be starting this new Service when the time is right. Do pray with us.