We have been experimenting with new forms of worship on Sunday evenings at Bradfield Church. Our traditional Anglican worship, whilst it is very beautiful, can seem very wordy at times (especially for the worship leader), so the Bradfield PCC have given their consent to a little bit of experimentation – within the requirements of the canon laws of the Church of England, of course! Our aim is to provide, once a month, a quieter and more reflective service for the end of the day. We aim at developing a service that may well be an easier way into church for those who have previously had little experience of it or may in the past have been put off by it.
So, on the third Sunday of the month we have been paring down the words as much as possible and including space for self examination and times for quiet reflection. We are also taking the opportunity to experiment with different forms of music, both recorded and congregationally sung. The musical items are chosen to create a peaceful and prayerful atmosphere for the close of the day. To give a focus to each service we have chosen a different theme for each night. Initially these were ‘peace’, ‘gratitude’ and ‘incarnation’; of late we have begun to focus on the different qualities found in St. Paul’s words to the Colossians: Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Col. 3.12). In February our speaker for the evening, the Revd. Francis Mason, our Deanery Missioner, led us in a very thoughtful study of the nature of ‘kindness’.
So far all our services have been by candlelight, although this will no doubt change when the lighter evenings are upon us. Each evening closes with a simple communion for those who wish to share in it. So far attendance has been good, with people coming from across the benefice and wider a field too. We are certainly learning as we go along and no doubt we have much more to learn – we are continuing to experiment.
Our next service is on Palm Sunday evening (16 March at 6.30pm) and this will include an exploration of the theme of ‘humility’. If you haven’t been along yet, why not consider coming to join us on Palm Sunday? (Transport can no doubt be arranged if needed.)
May I take this opportunity to wish all of you a happy Easter.