Invitation to Early Worship

It is Sunday; 8:30 AM and Rhonda is playing a beautiful piece of music on the piano as those readying for Early Worship settle into chairs in the chapel. There is a loaf of bread placed on the plate along with pitcher and goblets on the communion table. The baptismal font is to the north and the liturgical stand with Bible to its south, just below the stained glass window.

The setting doesn’t appear to be much different from what one might expect two and a half hours later in the sanctuary and yet, there are some who find this early service a bit intimidating. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby that small parties don’t provide any privacy. But what Hope’s Early Worship service does provide for some is a more intimate
relationship with God’s word.

The participant is encouraged to share thoughts to further their understanding of the text, to create a poem, draw, use a bit of drama to enhance the experience and sometimes if one is so moved, shed a tear in the safe space of lovers of Christ. There is a moment with children to assist in their understanding of The Word, and in that moment, adults may find their understanding assisted as well.

When Early Worship was created over twenty-five years ago, the intent was to provide an altered style of worship beyond a traditional service; an alternative for fellow Hope Church members and their children. In that light, I am reminded of the lyrics to the hymn, All Are Welcome; “here the love of Christ shall end divisions: All are welcome…in this place.”

You are invited to Early Worship. “All are welcome.”

~Audrianne Hill, Hope Church member