Exactly one year ago this Sunday, our church moved into a new world of ministry in the light of COVID epidemic. For the first time, we worshiped online and did not meeting in-person to avoid spreading the infection. When that started, we imagined that we might be able to meet again in just a few weeks. Little did we know that it would take almost a year for things to improve to the point where we could gather in-person again!
But, a year later, things are looking up. Many of us have been vaccinated against the disease and others are just in the process. The infection rate has decreased in Nashville to the point where restaurants and other businesses are able to see increased capacity. And, three weeks ago, we were able to resume in-person worship in our sanctuary.
As I’ve said many times, as we start to move away from a season of sickness and death, we aren’t returning to a pre-COVID world, but rather one that has been fundamentally changed. Where our focus in the past was solely on gathering together, we discovered a new way of being present with others through Zoom and online worship experiences. Many experts believe that as a result, in-person worship attendance is even less important to some and that the church is in the online worship business to stay.
As we responded to the suspension of in-person worship, we made the decision to not follow the lead of many of our sister congregations and simply recreate our normal Sunday morning experience. Instead, for both logistical and philosophical reasons, we created a worship experience that was specifically created to be viewed online. That service became the Prime service, and it was viewed by between 120 and 180 persons on average each week.
However, as we move into this new season, we believe it’s time to change our focus and end the Prime service. In all honesty, while it was a labor of love it takes (in it’s current form) 7 to 10 hours a week to put together. Prime has served it’s purpose, and it’s time to move on as both society and our church move to this next phase of our life together.
So, our last Prime service will posted on Sunday, March 28, 2021, which is Palm Sunday. Starting on Easter Sunday (April 4), we will focus on our online worship efforts on our live service at 9 a.m. on Sundays. We will be working diligently to make this a time in which folks watching at home feel included in the service, and we will be working to encourage participation in the service for those who are unable to attend in person.
Sometime after Easter, we will begin a new program on YouTube. The elements of this aren’t fully clear at this point, but it will be simpler and more focused on teaching and reflection. This will likely be a midweek offering that helps folks stay connected to their faith.
If you have any questions about our online offerings, or ideas for connecting with folks online, please email us at email@example.com