What does it mean for worship to be “culturally contextual” at Pearce? When our worship planning team put together the core values that guide us in planning services for our congregation, this particular value was probably the most difficult one to put into writing. Here’s how we expressed this value: “Christian worship expresses the character and personality of our congregation in its local context. The Gospel is proclaimed and responded to in a manner that frees us to worship God in ways that are historic and dynamic.”
I’ll try to unpack this challenging task of communicating God’s Words to a community of faith living in a specific geographical place and at a particular time in history. In preparation, you may want to ponder the ways in which worship at Pearce has changed. What’s the difference between worship services in 2015 and those at Pearce in 1965? Or, what’s the difference between a worship service in Rochester and a group meeting in New Orleans or Los Angeles?
The text for this weekend is Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman as recorded in John’s Gospel, chapter 4. If you read that chapter, notice the difference in worship perspectives between the woman and Jesus.
Last Saturday, our worship service reached a new high attendance with a total of 102 people gathering in Parmerter Chapel. When this small, informal worship service began in the fall of 2011, it was typical to have 35 or 40 attenders on a Saturday evening. Although I don’t anticipate this ever being a large gathering, it is clear that this Saturday format is appealing to a growing group of people.
Following the Saturday service, a group of more than 50 people gathered in Common Grounds Café to hear about Pearce’s emerging partnership with the Nzige Preschool in Rwanda. I was encouraged by the response to the vision for this partnership that Lydia Monroe and I shared.
Changing of the Guard (or Sign!)
You can hardly make them out, but in this photo, Dave Mantegna and two of his kids are changing the message on Pearce’s sign in the middle of Monday’s snow storm. (We received more than 11 inches of snow that day!) Usually, the communications team in the church office maintains the sign, but the Mantegnas volunteered to help out in our time of need! Thanks for braving the elements on our behalf!
Providing Clean Water
Last Sunday’s exit offering was designated to help International Child Care Ministries purchase Sawyer water filters for distribution in places around the world where clean water is not readily available. A total of $892.84 was received, enabling nearly 18 filters to be purchased.
If you aren’t familiar with these filters, check out this video about Sawyer filters. You’ll see how these simple filters are transforming the way clean water is being provided.