A firm opinion I hold regarding the Church as an institution is that it must be present, be consistent, and be ready to meet people wherever they are. This means open, unlocked doors. This means frequent services, but, just as or more importantly, it means dependable schedules. This means talking to strangers on the train.
Perhaps what most attracted me to the Anglican tradition was the ready-built framework of tradition provided by Thos. Cranmer that not only allows but encourages worship throughout the day, that no only allows but encourages lay participation. Not all parishes have a priest, for those who need one, or a minister of the Word. Not everyone can attend a morning service at 06:00, or a mid-day service at noon, or an evening service at 18:00, or a night service at 21:00. Some, unfortunately, can’t attend Sunday. Some can, but not Sunday morning.
I grew up in what is now a large suburban not-quite-megachurch congregation, but we moved and I spent my teen years in a tiny one. A tiny one of the four churches that Dad served. His time was divided; but whether they had a sermon or not, they came together to worship each week.
So I’m puzzled when churches pull back, reduce their hours, close their doors.
How can anyone find you then?
It’s not unlike scheduling any other meeting. The more people you have, the harder it is to pick a time convenient to everyone, and the more the need to just pick a time and shrug one’s shoulders about those who will miss out. This may work for presentations from Human Resources, or an academic conference, or the World Series, but the Good News is unlimited. God does not fit in that one convenient hour once a week.
God is patient. He waits.
For three months now I’ve been leading Morning Prayer at 07:30. At most there are three of us, usually just two, sometimes one. We should probably announce it more loudly. Anyone could lead a noon service. Anyone could lead an evening one. When I move to that town, I will.