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Letter from the Rector: Enriching Sundays
Dear Trinity Church and friends:
Grace and Peace and Advent greetings! I hope this message finds you and yours well.
As our new liturgical year begins, I am excited to spend time with you in settings large and small; to affirm and enhance our shared ministry; and to spark renewal and excitement in our parish. Toward those good ends, I write to share that beginning Sunday, January 5, 2020, we will launch as our regular weekly pattern the Sunday schedule we piloted on October 27. The unified, 10 a.m. worship will center our mornings with celebrations of the Holy Eucharist, punctuated by the praying of Morning Prayer on the last Sunday of every month.
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9 a.m. Community Hour
Parish Breakfast (First Sunday of the Month, September-June)
10 a.m. Holy Eucharist
Morning Prayer (Last Sunday of Every Month)
11:15 a.m. Formation for All Ages
6 p.m. Holy Eucharist
7:15 p.m. Fellowship and Formation (as announced)
Inspired by our Parish Profile, I am convicted that returning to a single, mid-morning worship service – the tradition of Trinity Church for more than 250 years – best positions us for sustainable excellence and growth. This American moment and our Back Bay location clearly call us to focus our energy on Sundays. While the surrounding culture has pushed Christianity from society’s center, Sunday remains the primary day when church communities gather. Further, with our congregation hailing from across Greater Boston, Sunday provides the best and most convenient times of access for those travelling to Copley Square. Therefore, we must structure and leverage Sundays to deliver not only stellar worship experiences, but opportunities for Christian community and serious formation, as well.
This new morning schedule allows for this rich buffet, welcoming parishioners to fill their plates with the offerings that most feed them. Some of us will choose to arrive early for church and stay for the Community Hour or Parish Breakfast that follows. Some of us will be glad to sleep a wink longer before herding our kiddos into the car, grateful to know a breakfast will greet us at church before we say our prayers together as a family. Some of us will arrive for worship and stay for formation. And, of course, some of us will pop-in for only one of these opportunities or another, while others will stay from soup to nuts.
Knowing that some insights can be gleaned only with experience, we will invest in this schedule through the Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King, on November 22, 2020. Living with these changes for a meaningful length of time, we will then formally reflect together on what we have shared. During this longer pilot, I welcome the opportunity to engage members of the parish about this and all our common life. The firstname.lastname@example.org address will remain open through 2020, and, as I covenanted this fall, I will read every message received, even if the volume of emails prevents me from replying to every one.
To further provide the congregation with opportunities to share hopes and concerns about this new schedule, in January and February I will also reprise the “Coffee with the Rector” program. As earlier this year, we will cap each Coffee’s participation at a dozen, including a member of the Vestry and a member of the staff, all to ensure that each attendee’s voice can be heard and honored. In summer, we will host more of these small-group programs, timed so those later conversations can benefit from our lived experience in this new pattern, as well as support our planning for the fall.
Please know that your parish leadership and I appreciate that established Sunday devotions are precious, and we do not undertake any change lightly. While surely no action – or inaction – will ever meet all of any individual’s first preferences, these plans have been carefully and lovingly conceived, incorporating the considerable feedback and counsel of the staff, congregation, and Vestry. Even so, I intend that we now begin a process of shared experience, rather than conclude one. As we adventure into this new season of our life together, I hope we will explore its possibilities with a spirit of grace and hope, trusting in God’s company and goodwill for us, for those we serve, and for all those we seek to welcome.
The Rev. Morgan S. Allen,