Welcome back! A slow return to in-person gatherings
By Susan Shinn Turner
As the congregational life of St. John’s returns to normal, some folks — new and old — are asking how they can become involved.
“Our first priority is to welcome people back to in-person gatherings, service, and worship,” says Pastor Rhodes. “We’re also aware that serving and volunteering are great ways to get connected and learn to know people. It’s a lot more fun working in the garden together, don’t you think?”
There are plenty of ways to become involved. Here’s a look at a few.
Worship and the Arts
In January, Corinne Mauldin took over as chair of the Worship and the Arts Ministry Group from longtime chair Gretchen Witt. Those are big shoes to fill, Corinne notes, and she appreciates Gretchen’s continuing guidance.
“As we return to worship, we’d like to welcome people into the joy of pulling it all together,” Corinne says. “There are so many different ways to become involved.”
That includes everything from being a lector, a communion assistant, or serving on the Altar Guild.
“Sometimes people don’t know what’s available,” Corinne says, “and you don’t have to volunteer every week. Every now and then is just great.”
With the help of Rob Durocher, Corinne is putting together a quarterly schedule for worship volunteers.
“This gives people a chance to plan ahead,” she notes.
“I’m not a shy person whatsoever,” she says. “But in a big church, it is a bit overwhelming. If anyone would like to have a conversation about worship opportunities, it’s a great way to explore what we offer.”
Dave Roof estimates he’s been involved as a worship volunteer for more than 20 years. In addition to being a communion assistant, he’s also a lay assisting minister and lector.
“I think it’s important for members of the congregation to be part of worship,” he says. “It’s called a service because we are serving God. It’s fun to see people’s faces and the children who come up to take communion. It’s great to be part of our congregation and part of the family of God. Communion is an especially big deal to be a part of. It’s the thing I missed most about not being in worship. It’s who we are.”
As a retired school teacher, Kathy Norris has never minded being in front of groups of people, although she admits serving as a lector in front of a congregation of mostly adults is different.
But, she says, “I get as much or more from these lessons as the congregation does. You feel a connection. I try to look at the people and engage them.”
She notes that it does take time to prepare to read the lessons. “I read through them enough times that I feel familiar with the passages,” she says. “I want to feel comfortable. You have to decide where you want to accent and put emphasis.”
Kathy often reads before and after the selected text to get an idea of the context of the particular scriptures of the day.
“It interests me that people will take the time to stop and say something to me afterward,” she says. “It’s something that’s meaningful for people.”
When practicing for the recent Pentecost service, Kathy had the opportunity to sit in the pew and hear Brenda Munday read.
“It was such a blessing to me to sit there and listen to her,” she says. “We have so many good readers. When someone does a good job and tries to connect with people, it does mean so much more to me as the listener, and I’m sure to others. I hope that God will help me and use me — and all of us — so that we can be a blessing to others when we are reading.”
If you’d like to get involved as a worship volunteer, please contact Corinne Mauldin at 704.202.0536 or email@example.com.