By The Reverend Dr. William A. Evertsberg
Sometimes your finest attributes sit very close to your worst. This is true of individuals as well as institutions.
For instance, there’s a thin line between ‘passionate’ and ‘volatile;’ or between ‘disciplined’ and ‘rigid;’ or between ‘tough’ and ‘heartless;’ or between ‘gentle’ and ‘weak;’ or between ‘prudent’ and ‘timid.’
One of the best things about Kenilworth Union Church is our formal, traditional worship. Our formality is glimpsed in the pipe organ; the robed choir; the vested clergy; the careful attention to elegant language in the liturgy; dark suits for men; dresses or skirts and jewelry and make-up for women; blue blazers with brass buttons and rep ties and bucks or penny loafers on five-year-old boys. This is a good thing about us.
But might there be a thin line between ‘formal’ and ‘stiff’? You hear that once in a while of formal, traditional churches: “That church is cold.” “Those people are stiff.”
So we’re going to try an experiment in the fall. Beginning Sunday, September 10, the 9 a.m. worship will be just a little less formal:
- I’m going to leave my pulpit robe in the closet.
- Board President Bruce Linger will show up in jeans. Trendsetter Jon Van Gorp will lose the socks and but keep the stylish shoes. Ralph Smith will wear shorts. Till it gets cold.
- There will be a Word for All Ages, which is a message even small children can understand.
- The service will be 45 minutes instead of the usual hour.
- Children will be welcome to stay in the sanctuary with their parents for the full service, although we expect that most children at the 9 a.m. worship will choose to exit for Children’s Chapels, because the preachers are going to continue to aim for intellectually challenging messages.
Since the 10:30 a.m. worship will remain the same, this gentle shift will give parishioners and visitors a true choice in worship styles.