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City Churches - service routine


Positif
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I am involved in the music at a church situated in the heart of the commercial quarter of a major city. There are few residential areas in the close vicinity, the nearest being a good 10-15 min walk away. Thankfully, the style of worship (reasonably formal, tradition Anglican, yet inclusive - for instance, at the main Eucharist, the choir sings a Kyrie and Agnus, the congregation sings Gloria and Sanctus) attracts a good following on a Sunday morning (c.100-120, rising to c.150+ for Easter, etc.). The church also provides a number of mid-week services which have a regular following of c.10-15.

 

The Sunday evening service is held at 6.30pm (sometimes choral sometimes not), and is very poorly attended indeed. This is not altogether surprising, considering the location of the church, nor the waning appetite for evening services as discussed in another thread on this forum).

 

We are considering trying an earlier start time (5pm?) to try and catch homeward-bound shoppers, but the whole issue of Sunday evening services needs to be addressed. I would be very interested to know what other city centre churches with choral traditions do, particularly in terms of scheduling services. My personal feeling is that the church needs to cater more for visitors and shoppers than a regular, residential congregation. We have regular Saturday morning concerts which do very well because the town is bustling at that time; I suspect if we did a big Evensong on a Saturday afternoon at 3.30pm, it would do pretty well (though the choir would probably go on strike!!).

 

In interested anticipation of your views,

 

Positif

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I don't think this is peculiar to city churches. In the 20 years I've been at a middling sized Gloucestershire village church the Sunday evening service has dwindles to almost nothing. The powers that be have tried all sorts of services - choral, said, Taizé, Iona, etc - but it's just the faithful (very) few that come. Different times made no difference.

Over the same period, the Sunday morning service has dropped a little from around 65 to 55 but nowhere near as much.

Even churchgoers just don't seem interested in Sunday afternoon/evening any more.

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