Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why printed Sunday programs?

Several people have asked me about why we are publishing service programs on Sunday instead of a leaflet listing page numbers. After all, don’t we all know how to use The Book of Common Prayer

Well, no, not everyone does.

The first and most important reason for the programs is that we have many new people who are not accustomed to going back and forth in the pages of the prayer book. Many are not Episcopalians, or are not familiar with our liturgical style of worship. Many others have no church background at all. If we are to be truly an inclusive and welcoming congregation, we need to find ways to help people enter into our way of worshipping and this is the first step. Printed programs are a tool not just of worship, but a tool of welcome.

Some people have expressed worry that we are somehow not worshipping out of The Book of Common Prayer. In fact, our worship is still from The Book of Common Prayer. The book is not the binding; the book is the printed words on the page. The printed programs are copied from an electronic version of The Book of Common Prayer, and then printed in a leaflet formatted in the order of our worship. We are even using the same fonts and rubrics as in the red book in the pews. And you are still welcome to use the red books – the books will remain in the pews.

The Book of Common Prayer is an extraordinary book, and you should think of it as more than just a worship book for Sunday mornings. The book is a resource for living. I would encourage everyone to purchase their own book, explore it fully, and learn how to use it in your daily life. You can also access the Book of Common Prayer on line by clicking here:  I would be happy to guide you through the wonders of the prayer book, and we will offer a class next year on The Book of Common Prayer as a book for living. I would also love to show you my collection of prayer books, including one published in 1776.

Isn’t this a lot of extra paper? Not as much as you might think. Before we began printing programs we were giving you announcement sheets, music sheets, a two-sided biblical lessons insert and a service leaflet with page numbers. With the printed programs you are getting all of that in a logical format, and it is taking, on the average, one or two extra pages per week, mostly because we’ve occasionally added extra music that is not in the blue hymnal.

To mitigate for our paper consumption, the Green Team and the Youth Group are teaming up next year to plant trees to replace those that are cut for paper pulp. We are also using recycled paper, and we have placed blue recycling cans around the church for you to discard your used programs (please use the blue cans for recycling paper, and not for trash).

Thank you worshipping at St. Paul’s and for adjusting to a few new ways of doing things.

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