December 29, 2015
I am excited to announce that during the season of Epiphany (January 10 - February 7), we will be testing a unified order of service for our 9am and 11am services. We hope that following an identical liturgical order in both services will enable greater worship unification between our two services; make better use of our resources, such as paper; and provide more clarity for worshipers, leaders, and teams. You may notice some liturgical changes in both services, and we welcome your feedback. As we test this unified liturgy, please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may be wondering, why try to make the services the same? Or perhaps, why were the services different in the first place? The story behind the origin of our different services and why we are now seeking to unify them shares a common theme: a desire to welcome everyone through the doors of our church.
Almost ten years ago, on September 10, 2006, we made a move of faith and started holding two services every Sunday morning at Glenbard West High School. Though our attendance numbers did not dictate the expansion to two Sunday services, our hearts were stirred to create more opportunities to invite the community into the healing presence of the Lord. The Lord honored that intention and we grew by 30% in the following years. Then, in 2012, we found ourselves in another moment of Holy Spirit growth as we moved into our current home on Union Avenue. Our attendance jumped by 20% and we rejoice that our family has continued to grow steadily since then.
As we have grown, the differences between the two services produced problems for our leaders, teams, and attenders. A situation that was manageable at a size of 500 has not scaled well to our current size of 1100.
We desire for everyone to feel welcomed and equipped in any service at Resurrection. Over the last three years in our building, we have observed that attenders are choosing services based upon their length, time, and consistency. At present, our 9am and 11am service lengths can vary due to differences in their liturgies. These differences have presented challenges for our families and newer attenders. Secondly, we want to unify our church in their worship experiences on a Sunday morning. For instance, we'd like to see our entire church praying the same prayers and saying the same creed.
Finally,we are testing a unified service because the current model produces inefficiencies with our resources, our ministry leaders, and Sunday morning teams. Our ministry teams who serve on Sunday morning can find the differences between the two services confusing and difficult to manage. The paper and staff costs that result from different services are significant; the reductions that are possible through unified services would allow us to be better stewards of our resources.
So many of you sacrifice time and sleep to make Sunday morning beautiful and welcoming. We are so grateful for your support and enthusiasm as we work to improve our consistency and clarity in our services. Thank you for your commitment to Church of the Resurrection.
December 20, 2015
Beloved Brothers and Sisters,
At Resurrection, we seek to love some of the most vulnerable people in our community. This aim is evident in our ministry to those who have been trafficked, to refugees, and to children at risk. The motivation for this ministry is the basic premise of the dignity of the human person. And at its foundation, we believe that loving the helpless in our community starts with loving the most vulnerable of our society: unborn children.
As we celebrate Christ's incarnation, we remember that Jesus has dignified every stage of human life, including the life of the unborn. January has traditionally been the time when Resurrection focuses on the Sanctity of Life, and 2016 will be no different. Deacon Brett Crull will be preaching on the Sanctity of Life on January 24, and we will be hearing from our own Sanctity of Life team members in the new year. I would encourage you to mark your calendars now for some very special events this January:
40 is an inspirational movie that examines the effects of abortion on our nation over the last 40 years since Roe v. Wade. 40 gives voice to both sides fairly and lets women speak from experience on the reasons for their convictions about abortion. Visit the event webpage to reserve free tickets or learn more.
The goal of our Sanctity of Life ministry team at Resurrection is to be a voice for the voiceless in the local community. The major tenets of our ministry include regular prayer times on Sundays and at abortion clinics, partnering with CareNet to support women in crisis pregnancies, and supporting women who have had an abortion.
Click here to get involved with the Sanctity of Life team.
Pro-life individuals and groups from all walks of life and all across the Midwest will march together in hope and love in downtown Chicago. Last year, 80 people from Church of the Resurrection joined thousands of others to defend and protect human life. We are going to the March again this year! A chartered bus will depart from the church at 12:30pm. For more information and to reserve a seat, visit the event page.
Anglicans for Life is inviting all Anglicans to attend the 2016 Summit: Mobilizing the Church for Life in Washington DC. The Summit will have great teaching, testimonies, and opportunities to network around both beginning and end-of-life issues. Mission Pastor Matt Woodley and I will both be there, and we would be delighted if anyone from Resurrection can join us. Please let Matt know if you are interested in attending by emailing him at email@example.com.
In recent years, the movement of life has been energized by a fresh wave of support. This January will be an exciting time to join together with people from across the nation to protect and defend a culture of life. I pray that all of us will respond to Jesus' call to love the helpless in this new year. May Christ, who first came to us as an infant, fill you with his joy and peace this season.
Bishop +Stewart Ruch III