After much discussion with the staff, meetings with the Worship, Music and Fine Arts Ministry Team and with the 8 am congregation, a decision was made at the May Church Council meeting on May 22, 2018, to suspend the 8 am worship service at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church during the summer months of July and August. The more intimate 8 am traditional worship service will not meet beginning July 1, 2018 and will resume its regularly scheduled services in the chapel on Sunday, September 9, after the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Typically, attendance falls at the church’s earliest service during the summer months because of regular attendees like snowbirds and Sunday School teachers go on vacation. Last year on Sunday, July 2, 2017, there were 35 in attendance. Just a month before, on May 28, there were 72. Only once during the months of July and August did the attendance go above 60. By combining the 8 and 9:30 am services, we expect to see a higher overall attendance at one traditional service when 8 am congregants join worship at 9:30 am.
The combined congregation is an opportunity to create community among those who may not see each other much, if at all, during the year. Worshipping together in one space at one time may help us engage more in the service and outside the service with one another.
Another reason is that staff and clergy typically take vacation during the summer months. Having one traditional service makes the best use of limited pastoral, music, administrative, tech and custodial staff. In the past few years, the Marketing and Communications Director has produced one Looking Ahead bulletin insert to cover six weeks of worship. That will continue until the kick-off Sundays for Children and Youth in mid-August this year.
There are also fewer church volunteers around during the summer months for the same reasons. These include communion stewards and servers, greeters, ushers, musicians, readers, liturgists and our audiovisual crew. Combining the two services creates more synergy and crossover, with more human resources to handle the one, larger service.
We’re hopeful that you’ll join us for traditional worship at 9:30 am in the sanctuary OR try our Ignite contemporary service at 11 am in the chapel whenever you are in town. July 1 and September 2 are Family Sundays, when children remain in worship as we share in the Lord’s Supper. The first Sunday of the month is also when you’re invited to help the homeless by donating food for families at UMOM.
The church welcomes this change as an opportunity to come together as one church for the summer. It may be a sacrifice to give up your favorite early service, but the intention is to create community and do what’s best for the church as a whole. We don’t want anyone to feel left out, so if you have concerns about this temporary change to our summer schedule, please email Senior Pastor Dave Summers, email@example.com, or call him at the church office, 602.840.8360.
May God bless you and yours this summer.