When we first cancelled all church activities, we started to offer our morning prayer services as a way to stay connected with each other and with God’s Holy Word while we all stayed home. The response to those services has been very positive! On average, we have at least fifteen devices (perhaps twenty to thirty people!) who watch live almost every day. Dozens more watch those later in the day or throughout the week. Many of you have expressed your appreciation and a desire for the church to keep offering these services permanently.
These services provide great opportunities for us to be in prayer together and so we plan to continue them as a regular part of our life together at Zion! However, there will be a couple of changes. We think that the time it takes to conduct the service is sustainable, even after we return to our regular schedule of Bible studies, meetings, classes, and activities. As you might imagine, most of the pastors’ time invested in the services is spent preparing the daily sermons. Therefore, we will no longer have a sermon at every service. We will follow the daily prayer service found on pg. 295 in the hymnal. This service is a little briefer than the one we’ve been using and is designed especially for home and family use. As you may have already noticed, these prayer services can serve as a model for your personal or family devotions.
Wednesdays will be a little different. On Wednesdays, we will follow the order of Matins found on pg. 219 in the hymnal. This service WILL include a sermon, based on the Old Testament or Epistle from the previous Sunday. While these readings are sometimes drawn into Sunday’s sermon, this service will allow us to reflect more intentionally on these readings and make connections with the theme from the previous Sunday, enriching our reflection on the Holy Scriptures each week. It will also include music as we sing the chants and canticle in this service.
The other change that we’d like to make is to invite you to join us in person if you are able! We will continue to offer these services for livestream, but we also would love those who feel comfortable to attend and pray with us in the sanctuary. Of course, we do not expect you to attend every day (though you are welcome to do so). If just once or twice a week works for you, or even just on occasion when you have the opportunity, please do not hesitate to come and pray together with us! I would especially encourage you to consider coming Wednesdays for the beautiful Matins service. We will continue to practice “social distancing” like we have been on Sundays, and there is plenty of space in the sanctuary to spread out. However, please be aware that both pastors take Friday as a day off. The Friday service is pre-recorded and is livestream only.
We would especially welcome you to come if you miss church but you are not ready to join the larger congregation for worship on Sundays. You may remain after the prayer service and receive communion from one of the pastors on request.
To recap, our prayer service schedule will be as follows:
Monday 9 am Daily Prayer
Tuesday 9 am Daily Prayer
Wednesday 9 am Matins with sermon
Thursday 9 am Daily Prayer
Friday 9 am Daily Prayer, Livestream only
After each service Communion on request (except on Fridays)
The orders of service will be available on the website as they have been. However, if you’ve been enjoying these services and plan to continue to watch them or attend, I would recommend having your own hymnal as well. The church office has hymnals available for purchase for $20. Another excellent resource that includes the orders of service as well as the schedule of readings and psalms is the Treasury of Daily Prayer. You can order that through the CPH website or call the office and we will order it for you. It is 30% off right now!
I pray that these opportunities for prayer and meditation upon God’s Holy Word will be a continued blessing to you and your family. Please join us as we continue to pray for our church and community!