For two years we have had an exceptional Sunday morning schedule due to the various and repeated interruptions of the Covid pandemic. We’ve adjusted and adapted based upon the most recent guidelines and accepted practices. Covid has now become a part of life and the emergency has ended. Rather than try to return to how things were in January of 2020, we are going to press forward into a renewed life together. Beginning on Sunday, September 11 our Sunday mornings will offer an opportunity for worshiping together, studying and growing together, and sharing fellowship together.
Click "Read more" for details on our new schedule.
Sundays at 9:00 – Divine Service
Lutherans in the time of the Reformation called this the Chief Divine Service—the regular, weekly distribution of the Word of God and the Sacrament of Holy Communion, around which the rest of the church’s life rotated. We will focus on a single Divine Service each Sunday morning to bring together our members to receive God’s gifts and respond with one voice in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. While a single Sunday morning service is a reduction in the number of services, I encourage you to consider it a strengthening of our worshiping community by bringing us together with one heart and voice in worship. By beginning our Divine Service at the top of the hour, we will signal that this is the primary source of our life together as the children of God. Sunday morning worship will continue to rotate worship settings based upon the season of the church year.
Sundays at 10:15 – Fellowship and Family Bible Hour
The two things our members have repeatedly told me they missed during the Covid interruption is the opportunity for fellowship and biblical and catechetical education, especially for our children. Beginning September 11 we will offer a time of fellowship around coffee and other morning treats following the Divine Service. This time of fellowship will lead directly into an intergenerational time of prayer and introduction to the biblical and catechetical theme for the day. After our opening, we will dismiss into cohorts based upon age to reinforce and enrich the main lesson of the day. All members of St. John’s from infant to elderly will read and reflect upon the same Scripture every week, being drawn together by the Word of God.
Fellowship and Family Bible Hour will begin in the Fellowship Room and will dismiss at around 11:15.
Sundays at 6 p.m. – Evening Divine Service
Our alternate Divine Service will remain at 6 p.m. on Sunday evenings. Later this fall, we will begin to differentiate the evening Divine Service as a more reflective and contemplative service with some additional liturgical ceremonies and an “unplugged” atmosphere.
I am also going to make the 6 p.m. service an opportunity to focus on the liturgical heritage of the Lutheran Church and use Divine Service, Setting 3 (the Common Service) as the main setting. Where the Sunday morning service will rotate settings, the Evening Divine Service will maintain a consistent liturgical setting with only minor variations throughout the year.
Introducing Kids in the Divine Service
Since I have arrived at St. John’s, people have asked me about ways to get kids more involved with worship and to explain more about why we do what we do in worship. Beginning on September 11, I will begin the service with a brief Kids in the Divine Service opening. After the Hymn of Invocation, I will invite the children of the congregation to come forward and explain one element of liturgy, worship, ceremony, or the church year.
I will do this at the beginning of the service because I plan to offer regular “worship challenges,” such as identifying one place in the service to make the sign of the cross, and to earn a small reward at our Family Bible Hour.
I hope that this new schedule will not only be a blessing to you, but that it will help strengthen our congregation and bring us ever more closely together as God’s children in Northwest Chicago.
under the cross,