No More Evening Services?

Isleworth Congregational Church Sally Moody

by Sally Moody

Church Meeting on Wednesday started off as normal…We then went on to discuss a fairly controversial suggestion…

that we cease holding evening services….

How do you feel about that?

Do you think we should stop having our Sunday evening services? or should we continue to be the only local church that does offer a service in the evening, for anyone to attend if they wish or need to do so…?

Maybe your answer could or should be tempered with the truth of whether you attend evening service… whether you do come out in the evening for a service which certainly recently has been attended by sometimes three people … a visible congregation of one…

Our attendance at services in general has declined over the past few years, as it has in many other churches of all denominations. Even our morning services sometimes only have a congregation of less than ten…and quite often there are more non-Church Members than Church Members. Thank goodness for our church friends!

We are obviously not providing what is needed, what people want. We need to do something!

While ceasing evening services may seem a very negative reaction I think we need to conserve our resources… fewer people are available or willing to do the things that need doing: one of those things is actually taking services. It is a real embarrassment to have a visiting preacher come on a Sunday evening to preach … to a congregation of just 2 or 3 … so we don’t ask new preachers to come in the evening.

We do make sure those preachers are aware of their pitifully sparse audience and we do have a few wonderful faithful souls who visit us regularly. Several of those cannot come in the morning as they have their own church commitments, so we wouldn’t see them if there was no evening service…

On other Sunday evenings we have to have “in house” preachers…

I feel the difficulty there is that it is getting a little “Oh it’s your turn this time” and taking a service shouldn’t be like that… and if the few who attend are the few who preach, we may ask ‘What is the point?’ We are holding services almost because we feel we ought to and the people attending are there because they feel they ought to be there…and no one else feels the need … do you…?

In previous years the morning and evening services were very different in nature and structure. Morning was a family service with time for the children… we have no children now! Our youthful members are … well … not youthful! Evening services were more adult based, more contemplative perhaps…

We no longer have the need to differentiate … and we’re just glad someone will come into the pulpit!

By ceasing evening services we may save a bit of money… heating and lighting… not the best way to run a church, but money is finite. We don’t have a limitless supply and the only money we get is from your offerings in the plate.

There is MUCH that needs doing to our elderly building … we need to prioritize and save where we can…

We could make changes in several ways…

  1. Stop evening services totally
  2. Cut down evening services to two a month (possibly the first Sunday evening, for communion, and the third Sunday.)
  3. Cut evening services to one a month – the first Sunday evening for communion.

What are your views on all of this?

We need to know…whether you are a Church Member or not.

If you worship with us, please think about this and let the deacons know. We are intending to hold a meeting after the church service on the morning of July 14th, to discuss this matter, which we feel is of great importance. We hope you will all be there. It is not a Church Meeting but a meeting of Church Members and friends.

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