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Sunday Worship Schedule Survey

Dear members of the Bethel community, 

Recently the congregation council asked that a task force explore the following question and bring back a recommendation: Is it appropriate for Bethel Lutheran Church to have two worship services on Sunday morning, rather than three? (See below for background on this question provided by Pastor John Swanson.) 

The task force will be listening to the members and friends of BLC as a primary way to accomplish its work. There will be official listening opportunities on two Sundays: June 24 and July 15. In addition, the survey below may be completed on-line or in paper form (available at the church) through July 15th. People from the task force will also have conversations with individuals and groups to gather more input. 

Please note that the surveys are not a form of voting. The task force is engaged in spiritually discerning a recommendation for the sake of God’s mission lived out at Bethel. In addition to listening to the Bethel community, the task force is listening to God through dwelling in the Word. 

Official Listening Opportunities on June 24 and July 15: 

From 8:30 AM to 9:15 AM: 

  • Location: Good Shepherd Chapel 
  • Facilitators: Bonnie Orvick, Jeanne Hilton and Amy Hartsough 

From 10:15 AM to 11:15 AM 

  • Location: Good Shepherd Chapel 
  • Facilitators: Bonnie Orvick, Jeanne Hilton and Jerry Buss 

During Summer Social activity at James Madison Park (10:15 AM on) 

  • Facilitators: Sharon Sumner, Kathy Pielage and Cindy Melrose 

After the 11:15 AM worship in the Pentecost Room 

  • Facilitators: Lois Seymour and Pastor Margo 

Why are we taking a look at our Sunday schedule? (by Pastor John Swanson) 

In early May Deacon Lisa, Pastors Martha, Margo, Paul, and I were discussing our Sunday morning worship schedule. That Pastors Martha and Paul were leaving was part of the reason we were talking about the issue, but that was not the main reason for the conversation. It was sparked by a whole host of reasons, including that summer was coming soon and we wondered if adjusting our worship service times would be a wise thing to do (many churches have different worship times in the summer). The five of us also share a unique and rare perspective at Bethel – we are some of the few people who regularly participate at each of our four weekly services (not counting our Bhutanese service). Because of that familiarity, we shared our thoughts on what is unique and important about each service. We also discussed the issue of hospitality – how are our current worship services seen and experienced by first time worshipers? Such thoughts and questions, combined with the reality that our Sunday morning attendance has gradually declined over the past 25 years, led Pastor Paul to share our thoughts with the Ministry Council. 

After discussing the issue of our Sunday morning schedule, the Ministry Council brought a proposal to the Church Council. The proposal was that the council may wish to consider reducing the number of Sunday morning worship services from three to two. After discussion, the council decided that a task force should be developed to look at this issue. The task force is made up of folks from varying interests connected to Sunday mornings at Bethel. Our goal is to talk to you. We want to know what you think about Sunday mornings at Bethel. The plan is to gather information over the next four or five weeks via one-to-one conversations, small groups, surveys, etc. 

We have not arrived at a plan for changes at this point. What we do have a plan to do is to listen. We want your input, your reflections, your ideas, your concerns, your hopes as we move forward. So as you think about your experience at Bethel on Sunday mornings, consider what works for you, what brings you joy, what brings you closer to God? But also consider how a first-time worshiper might respond to those same questions. After all, Bethel exists both for those of us already here, and also for those who have never stepped inside our doors. Thank you for your time as we continue to seek to serve God in and outside these walls. 

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