Rejoicing in the Spotlight: First Presbyterian Uses Rejoicing Spirits Worship on Sunday Morning

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Written by Terry Chaney, member at First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Mich.

On Aug. 3 our Rejoicing Spirits team tried the experiment using the Rejoicing Spirits service as our Sunday morning worship service. Tracing the ripples has been both more interesting and thought provoking than I had initially anticipated.

We did the service, including an older skit, at both of our services. The first, our 8:30 a.m. service, is attended mostly by older members but it also includes some of the strongest backers of Rejoicing Spirits. Although I personally was a bit concerned at how they would react, I greatly underestimated their collective imagination and willingness to embrace something different. In my discussions with the team they agreed that they may have gotten into the service by answering questions and participating to the same, or maybe even a greater degree, than those who attended the later service.

The second service also went well, with no one reporting having heard any adverse remarks, in fact the response was very positive. 

One of the residents and caregivers from one of the group homes who regularly attends our rejoicing Spirits service came to the 10 a.m. service and fit in well.

I think that the most important result of having done the service in the regular time slots is that it has caused the team to revisit what we do, and how we do it. As a result, we are beginning to stress rehearsal of skits, costumes and props, and just planning in general. 

Although this may cut down on the spontaneous nature of the service, it should make what we are doing more evident and also ultimately increase opportunities for including people in ways that best fit their gifts. We are beginning this process, it will require more work on many of our parts and seeing where it goes will be interesting.

As a part of our effort to promote National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Month, this month our Rejoicing in the Spotlight article features some reflections on First Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Mich., on their experience of using Rejoicing Spirits worship on a Sunday morning.