The need for service Post Mortems

Does your church ever get the staff together to hash out what went well, what went badly, what no one thought about doing, before the event fades from memory? I'm thinking mostly about one-off services, "special occasions" like Christmas Eve, Lessons & Carols, Ash Wed., etc.

The reason ought to be preventing similar f'ups the next time these services must be done. Usually, Christmas Eve won't be thought about before next December.

Does your place leave it to chance, that things will go smoother next year? Or do you address confusing or awkward goings-on while still fresh in mind? Would it be a waste of time? Or would it be a Good Thing that ought to make worship more meaningful and well-done?
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Comments

  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    Always used to do this over coffee and write up the results and put them in the front of the file for next year's planning. Helps a whole lot.
  • Does your church ever get the staff together to hash out what went well, what went badly, what no one thought about doing, before the event fades from memory? I'm thinking mostly about one-off services, "special occasions" like Christmas Eve, Lessons & Carols, Ash Wed., etc.
    The staff has conversations of that kind at weekly staff meetings. The worship committee has conversations of that kind, particularly as to the special services you describe, on a monthly basis. Indeed, we’ll be having that conversation about Advent and Christmas services tonight.

  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    Yes, but we don't overdo it. I also keep notes about what went wrong and what went right. As a result there are certain things that I avoid like the plague because they never go right. The eternally popular candlelight service at Christmas is high on that list.
  • ArethosemyfeetArethosemyfeet Shipmate
    edited January 9
    PDR wrote: »
    Yes, but we don't overdo it. I also keep notes about what went wrong and what went right. As a result there are certain things that I avoid like the plague because they never go right. The eternally popular candlelight service at Christmas is high on that list.

    There's a story here... :p

    For us, even when fully staffed (i.e. when we have a minister) we don't have a team that you would call to such a meeting. As the person in charge of our candlelit service at Christmas I think it went quite well, though I kicked myself again for missing some oddities in the versions of carols printed on the service sheet.
  • I'm all for having these post-mortems (and we had a gentle post-Christmas one yesterday), the problem comes when they involve individuals who regard "evaluation" as "criticism" and then take umbrage,
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    We have a standing liturgy committee that meets regularly to discuss and plan services. We just met a few days ago and will be meeting again in February to begin planning for Lent and Easter. For us, this group consists of the subdeacons, head usher, heads of the altar guild, deacons, and the priest.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    You need a rector/minister prepared to listen and change. Not every church has one.
  • ECraigR wrote: »
    We have a standing liturgy committee that meets regularly to discuss and plan services. We just met a few days ago and will be meeting again in February to begin planning for Lent and Easter. For us, this group consists of the subdeacons, head usher, heads of the altar guild, deacons, and the priest.

    For some reason the idea of the altar guild having multiple heads makes me imagine it as some kind of hydra.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    As a matter of general application, I'd regard it as a truth universally acknowledged that not consciously reviewing what has worked and what hasn't is an unfailingly reliable marker of an ass.
  • You mean a wash-up session.

    We have these after Christmas, Lent, HW & Easter, any large-scale "specials" (confirmations for the Deanery, for example). We've had the first post-Christmas session and they'll be a brief agreement on what changes we propose for next year at the next PCC meeting.

    In addition, there is always a planning meeting in January to set dates for things like concerts - ours is next week, when we'll fix final dates for carol service, Christmas Fair, Easter Oratorio, etc, etc, et
  • ECraigR wrote: »
    We have a standing liturgy committee that meets regularly to discuss and plan services. We just met a few days ago and will be meeting again in February to begin planning for Lent and Easter. For us, this group consists of the subdeacons, head usher, heads of the altar guild, deacons, and the priest.

    For some reason the idea of the altar guild having multiple heads makes me imagine it as some kind of hydra.

    Sounds about right.
    :flushed:

    We (the Ministry Team - viz. myself, fellow-Reader, Madam Sacristan, churchwarden) discuss with Father NewPriest on an ad-hoc basis as to how things have gone, what to do next time etc., and this works well for us. Father NP has shown himself, so far, to be flexible in his approach, and prepared to listen/change.

  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    ECraigR wrote: »
    We have a standing liturgy committee that meets regularly to discuss and plan services. We just met a few days ago and will be meeting again in February to begin planning for Lent and Easter. For us, this group consists of the subdeacons, head usher, heads of the altar guild, deacons, and the priest.

    For some reason the idea of the altar guild having multiple heads makes me imagine it as some kind of hydra.

    Perhaps apt. It had been headed by one woman, but she moved last year. There’s no other person that has both the sewing and craft skills, as well as the organizational skills. Thus two. Perhaps necessity is how hydras develop.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    The only time a "committee" is involved with Liturgy at ours is before Holy Week. I (musician) make a note of things that should be considered from the previous year and raise them.
    Here's the bloody thing, though ...... musicians practice, the church is meticulously cleaned, the servers are rehearsed, and the flower arrangers go to great lengths, brass is polished and vestments and cloths are laundered ..... but the readers are always the weakest link. They stumble and mumble their way through things. It doesn't matter what is said at the meeting neither the clergy nor those in charge of readers seem willing to engage with the problem. This is a real issue when it comes to the Passions on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, and the many readings at the Easter Vigil.
    Drives me nuts!!!!!
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited January 10
    Yes, that is something which has annoyed me too. So much so that, in one church, I produced a "Guide to Readers"; however, when I showed it to The Lady Who Arranges Things, she rejected it in no uncertain terms as she thought it disrespectful to those who read.

    The problem with all such "post-mortems" is that folk who do their job well are quite amenable to review and constructive criticisms; it's the folk who do things badly who get "aerated" and aggressive.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    The person in charge of arranging readers for things at my place is also a subdeacon, so that helps smooths things over. Though we do have a few readers who continue to read when they shouldn’t because of Tradition, but oh well.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited January 10
    PDR wrote: »
    Yes, but we don't overdo it. I also keep notes about what went wrong and what went right. As a result there are certain things that I avoid like the plague because they never go right. The eternally popular candlelight service at Christmas is high on that list.

    There's a story here... :p

    For us, even when fully staffed (i.e. when we have a minister) we don't have a team that you would call to such a meeting. As the person in charge of our candlelit service at Christmas I think it went quite well, though I kicked myself again for missing some oddities in the versions of carols printed on the service sheet.

    The story is that when I was in my late teens and singing in the church choir in spite of multiple warnings about maintaining a safe distance from the choir member in front, two of the juniors had a go at incinerating each other. Then there is the wax problem, even with the drip cups... There is also the problem of how do you juggle a hymnal and a candle. I am also paranoid about the risk of fire, which goes back to a bad experience when I was a lay assistant in a parish, and the church burnt down.

    At St Oddball's the post-mortem is usually conducted over coffee the next Sunday and usually consists of organist, reader, minister, and senior warden. The take-aways this time were:

    1. Print more bulletins, no matter how pessimistic the vicar is about attendance
    2. We really need to get the 1960s additions to the organ re-voiced so they can be used without making the dogs within a three mile radius howl.
    3. Remember to have the reader on chalice duty.
    4. We need to do something about the lighting in the pulpit.

    On the whole Christmas went well because we kept it simple so that the two principle actors, as it were, the organist and the me were inside our comfort zones.
  • PDR wrote: »
    Then there is the wax problem, even with the drip cups... There is also the problem of how do you juggle a hymnal and a candle.
    We deal with the latter problem by printing the words to the carol that will be sung by candlelight in the bulletin, which is much easier to hold at the same time as a candle. (Add in that we don't stay in the pews for the candle lighting part. We move to the walls, to make a circle around the nave, so carrying a hymnal would be a particular pain. Candle lighting doesn't start until after folks are in place.)

    That bulletin also instructs people that when "passing the light," so to speak, the person with the lighted candle keeps it pointed up, and only the person lighting his or her candle tips the candle. Wax on the floor doesn't seem to be a problem.

  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    Re. the reader issue, we once invited children to assist Elders in a job and held mandatory rehearsals so that the children could become comfortable. If you invited the readers to share the readings with a child that knows them, ie. grandchild, niece, child who shares a pew week by week, you get the chance to make any training be about the children.

    Anyone who didn't sign up for the first rehearsal opportunity was reminded in person or by direct telephone call of the time and date for the second rehearsal. Anyone who still didn't come out was given their own training time by mutual arrangement. It really helped many of the Elders understand both the global reasoning for what they were doing and the practical side of it.

    In fact, one time at a rehearsal, a young boy who was an excellent reader, was prompted to do the reading in the style of the minister. We first suggested he do it in a whisper and then with a funny accent and a few more ideas and then lit on the idea of doing in like Mr. Minister's Name. Well, it was hilarious. He made a great job of it - slow, at a bold volume, and with tremendous confidence.

    Yes, this is a labour intensive way of changing a culture but it worked beautifully and provided meaningful experiences for everyone.
  • What a wonderful response. Thanks. I (the organ & choir lady) am reassured, in a way, that plenty of 'places where they sing' have the same type of problems as I do.
    Regarding Readers: When I've asked for a Reader meeting in early Fall to remind them of do's & don'ts, and keeping the instructions on a positive note-- not a "you're doing it wrong" lecture, Priest-in-charge always counters with "they'll quit ! We have trouble enough getting anyone to be a Reader." There are 2 or 3 who take advantage of having an audience to speak to, and invent some timely chit-chat before actually getting around to the scripture reading. Sometimes it is an explanation of the reading. And- at the end instead of a decent pause, treats "The Word of the Lord" as a mumble attached to the last phrase of the lesson.

    Now Christmas Eve with the dreaded candle- lit singing of Silent Night ! We've had sudden total dark, had no adjustment to the lights at all (which was this year's way); forgetting to bring the lights up for the rest of the service, and juggling hymnal and candle. There needs to be instruction BEFORE Silent Night rolls around.
    I'm opposed to a general Music and Worship committee. A waste of time, and annoying. Complainers who say things like "Can't we sing Amazing Grace more often?" or- "We have never heard some of the tunes you pick" No one can sing them". "The organ is too loud."
    But, Ive strayed from my original question. Sloppy, ill-prepared services make Our Holy Blessed Lady moan and weep.
  • One of the peculiarities of our building is that the secondary heating is provided by overhead heaters that also provide a warm, or possibly infernal, glow. This means that "candlelit" services, while clearly having no lights on, are sufficiently illuminated for safety prior to the lighting of the candles. We use the card drip shields and, this year, allegedly non-drip candles to minimise the wax deposition.

    I have only once seen someone set on fire the hair of the person in front. Having seen the insurance value of our building and it's current state I'm not sure that burning it to the ground would be a complete disaster. :naughty:
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    I don't think we will get very far with me and the candlelight thing on Christmas Eve until

    1. I can at least partly get over my paranoia about fire.
    2. I can actually find a liturgical function for it.

    The usual way it is done around here seems to be the candles are lit after communion, and everyone sings "Silent night" whilst the priest does the washing up. The problem there is that I do the washing up during the final hymn, so a hymn after communion is basically redundant, so how do I recycle this piece of sentiment tripe? So far the solution has escaped me.
  • What you need to get the readers up to scratch is a youngish(30 to 50) person with hearing loss on the PCC. Suddenly the reading training becomes about including this person rather than the performance of the readers. It's amazing how when something is not about you then people can take criticism better.
  • In a previous parish we used to hold a Christmas Eve family service i. A wooden, 1920s village hall. Packed to the rafters with the whole village. And yes, of course thy wanted candles. One year, when my daughter was about 5 I saw her beginning to fidget during the candle-holding bit. My mother who was looking after her (since I was officiating and my husband was doing his best on an untuneable piano) could be seen telling her to behave. Whereat the woman in the row behind leaned over and quietly extinguished my daughter’s smouldering locks. No harm done.

    I would love to be able to do post mortems with my worship team who take services when I can’t be on more than one place at a time (funny that). But every time I suggest it the one who has appointed himself the key organiser finds a reason why this is not going to work. Things will come to a head on this soon, I think. One way or another.
  • PDR wrote: »
    I don't think we will get very far with me and the candlelight thing on Christmas Eve until

    1. I can at least partly get over my paranoia about fire.
    2. I can actually find a liturgical function for it.

    The usual way it is done around here seems to be the candles are lit after communion, and everyone sings "Silent night" whilst the priest does the washing up. The problem there is that I do the washing up during the final hymn, so a hymn after communion is basically redundant, so how do I recycle this piece of sentiment tripe? So far the solution has escaped me.

    We used the candles throughout, and it being 9 lessons and carols communion was not an issue. Small congregation too which makes it easier. One of the churches where I grew up used to do midnight mass by candlelight, but that was achieved by having every ledge and window sill of a 14th century village church stuffed with them so no-one needed to hold them.
  • PDR wrote: »
    The usual way it is done around here seems to be the candles are lit after communion, and everyone sings "Silent night" whilst the priest does the washing up. The problem there is that I do the washing up during the final hymn, so a hymn after communion is basically redundant, so how do I recycle this piece of sentiment tripe? So far the solution has escaped me.
    We have "traveling music" from the organ after the post-communion prayer, during which everyone moves to the walls. After that, the lights are turned down/off, candles are lit and we sing (yes) "Silent Night," accompanied only by guitar, except for the last verse, which is sung unaccompanied. The benediction is pronounced, the lights come back on with the final "Amen," and then we sing "Joy to the World" as something of a postlude. The light controls are all next to the organ bench, so the organist handles the lights.

    I'm opposed to a general Music and Worship committee. A waste of time, and annoying. Complainers who say things like "Can't we sing Amazing Grace more often?" or- "We have never heard some of the tunes you pick" No one can sing them". "The organ is too loud."
    I'd wager that in my tribe, only the very smallest churches lack a worship committee, since for us worship falls under the oversight of minister and Session together, and Sessions tend to do most of their work by committee. I'd say if any time at all is spent on things like carping on hymn choices or the like, the committee has totally lost its way and is indeed wasting everyone's time.

    That said, I've served on worship committees off and on for 40+ decades, and I've rarely heard that kind of complaining in a worship committee meeting. (And on the few occasions when I have heard it, it was tactfully shut down pretty quickly.)

  • Yes! In first parish we had a committee that would review, keep notes, reference them for planning next time around. It was very helpful!

    Last parish was rather small for any committee but the Senior Warden and priests would review what worked, what didn't. With all due respect to every organist here, our major nag each sepcial service was the organist. He had a, let us say, a healthy ego (aka he thought everything as about the music, not the liturgy as a whole.). The mini committee would, next time the special event came around, review its notes, and the enter to battle with the organist. Since I'left there he has been released from his duties. They've hired a more collegial organist and are happy, and keeping note and using them for future planning, witout battles.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    PDR wrote: »
    I don't think we will get very far with me and the candlelight thing on Christmas Eve until

    1. I can at least partly get over my paranoia about fire.
    2. I can actually find a liturgical function for it.

    The usual way it is done around here seems to be the candles are lit after communion, and everyone sings "Silent night" whilst the priest does the washing up. The problem there is that I do the washing up during the final hymn, so a hymn after communion is basically redundant, so how do I recycle this piece of sentiment tripe? So far the solution has escaped me.

    We used the candles throughout, and it being 9 lessons and carols communion was not an issue. Small congregation too which makes it easier. One of the churches where I grew up used to do midnight mass by candlelight, but that was achieved by having every ledge and window sill of a 14th century village church stuffed with them so no-one needed to hold them.

    It is certainly a lot easier to manage the candlelight thing with something like Nine Lessons and Carols. We have communion on Christmas as our organist plays for both us and the Presbyterians, so we do not have the musical resources to do both Nine Lessons and Carols and the Communion, and with that choice to be made, I go with Communion. Amazingly most of the congregation agree with me. I just have the two who want to do the candle thing like they did when they were in their old parish.

    I don't do worship committees. Actually, if I am given my druthers I do not do committees at all unless their is a pressing need for them. I am on too many of them at diocesan level to take kindly to replicating the tribe unnecessarily. We have a vestry committee, and that seems to be enough for the time being, and we may need a building and ground committee at some point, but that seems to be about it for the foreseeable future.
  • PDR wrote: »
    I don't do worship committees. Actually, if I am given my druthers I do not do committees at all unless their is a pressing need for them.
    My people do pretty much everything by committee. Three ministers did our wedding, and we all joked that we got married in true Presbyterian style—by committee. :lol:

    Seriously though, among my people, ministers rarely can say “I don’t do worship committees.” There are certain decisions about worship—including setting the dates and times of any services, approving celebration of the sacraments, and arrangement and appointments of the worship space—that are the province of the Session, not the minister. So, for example, if the minister wants to have a service on April Fools Eve, the Session must authorize that service or it can’t happen. Likewise, if the minister wants to install a presence light in the chancel (yes, I know of one in a Presbyterian church) or put an icon of John Knox in the sanctuary, the Session must approve that.

    Granted, the minister typically has influence on how the Session chooses to go about its business, but ultimately that decision belongs to the Session. And except in small congregations, the Session and the minister are going to want to commit much of its work to committees, as the alternative can be interminable meetings with the Session acting as a committee of the whole.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited January 11
    Full-on Presbyterianism would drive me insane. Of course, in our tradition we have vestries and any incumbent worth their salt runs any non-routine matter, and most routine matters past them, or he/she will get into a lot of trouble. The general rule of thumb is that if it concerns worship and doctrine the clergy have the whip hand, provided they abide by the BCP and the Canons; if it concerns money, buildings and property the vestry is dominant, and if it is somewhere in between the two we negotiate. However, most of the time we work things out as a group, but if we get a log jam it falls to me to clear the obstruction, or decide we are not sufficiently of one mind to proceed. I guess you could say that our system veers strongly towards constitutional monarchy in that I am expected to take the lead, but be open to other people's ideas, and the general consensus in the congregation. In short - don't be a Charles I or a Seamus the Shit.

    I don't think I would know how to handle a parish that was very committee orientated. They do exist, but you are unlikely to run across one in the sort of small town environment to which I prefer to minister. The odd time I ran into them when I was being trained, they always seem to be very large, somewhat political churches. Not in the party sense, but in terms of the way things get done - i.e. the sort of place that lives and dies by Robert's Rules. Size brings its challenges, and I have always preferred to minister in churches in the 50 to 150 member bracket than those in the 150 to 500. My senior warden pushes a more consensus approach with which I am basically in sympathy, but I find it too cumbersome in some respects - i.e. when the decision involves a roof leak, rather than an intellectual concept.
  • My understanding of the three main polities regarding church governance is thus:
    Episcopal: rule by Bishops
    Congregational: rule by congregational meeting
    Presbyterian: rule by committee
  • Does your church ever get the staff together to hash out what went well, what went badly, what no one thought about doing, before the event fades from memory?

    Our church has an informal Monday night coffee meeting at which any elder can provide feedback on the service, and at which elders are given an outline of the minister's diary for the week, and prayer requests for his work.

    It's an excellent scheme, but I haven't been for ages. Generally, I only go if the North East Man is going too, and vice versa. If either of us has missed the service (he's away a lot with work) we don't go. Plus, I don't go if I've missed the sermon, due to being on Sunday School rota. And I don't go if I've another evening committed to a church committee that week, because it can end up feeling like I'm never away from the place.

    Perhaps I should make a New Year's Resolution to go at least once a month.

  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    With regard to candles, it is a moment for people to physically participate in something that they otherwise only hear and imagine, that is, the light of the angels and the awe of the moment. If you haven't done it where that sense of awe is present, you are missing something.

    Some years ago now, my mother, who had experienced candle light on Christmas Eve, asked to donate the candles and the minister went along with it. This church had wall sconces with real candles on a pop-up spring that made them pretty efficient at staying put and not dripping or anything. These were used for any evening services and especially at Christmas with the chuch lights on just enough for reading the bulletin and hymn books. In any case, that year that the candles were used, I asked the four pre-teen and teenage daughters of one family to be the ones to bring the light from the communion table to the congregation. Their mother had a slow moving terminal illness. I just thought that of all of the families, theirs was the one that deserved to have a warm moment, especially for the mother and the daughters to remember. While it might be too emotional for some, and while a person could say that it had the possibility of distracting people from the point of the service, it was a truly memorable time of what some call "thin space" and the essence of an evening anticipating and celebrating the birth of a child who would grow up to be the Saviour was embodied in the action that those girls took. I guess what I am saying is, that all of the reasons not to use candles can be worked out and that it is an opportunity where people are both ready and expecting to have an experience of Christ being present.

    When I am in a place where candles, or more recently, penlights, are used, it reminds me of that feeling that night. If you have never felt it, you don't know it and can only hear it described. But if you participate in it, you will be reminded of it when you come close to it again.

    And yes, I am completely in favour of committees so that one person can explain to the others how they experienced the service and any changes that were made or need to be made can be recorded in a collective memory and not in that of a lone ranger who may or may not be there next year.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    My understanding of the three main polities regarding church governance is thus:
    Episcopal: rule by Bishops
    Congregational: rule by congregational meeting
    Presbyterian: rule by committee

    I would add that in practice they end up being hybrids. Technically my tribe is Episcopal, but in practice it is more like "bishop-in-presbytery" thanks to the synodical structures we inherited from the parent organisation who in turn created them back in the 1780s. The bishop does not have much autonomy, though he can, with good cause overrule certain decision made by the Standing Committee, but not the Diocesan Council. There is also a limited right of veto, which in our diocese works as follows. The bishop can veto, but if the synod is really determined they can vote to over ride the veto, but they need a two-thirds vote to do it.
  • Those categories ignore the realities of rule by Flower Rotas ladies, rule by Organist, rule by Caretaker ...
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited January 11
    ...Madam Sacristan, Them Dratted Lay Readers, Them Wot Owns The Church Hall...
    :grimace:
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Where the power lies. (Courtesy of shipmate Dave Walker)
  • Lily Pad wrote: »

    it was a truly memorable time of what some call "thin space" and the essence of an evening anticipating and celebrating the birth of a child who would grow up to be the Saviour

    Lily, I fully agree that that this is a beautiful and emotionally loaded part of the service. What I know is that it needs to be carefully planned and executed to succeed. It doesn't just "happen".
    Aside: I've been told to "have the organ play" while the flame is passed around. Also, asked if I can play silently while the candles are lit. Of course I replied, "I certainly can".
    The nave lights going instantly from full-bright to total dark doesn't set the mood. It makes kids giggle.
    I do see a definite need for talking over the pitfalls soon after the fact, without pointing angry fingers at anybody. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Yes, Lord, we try.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    Where the power lies. (Courtesy of shipmate Dave Walker)
    Brilliant! Fortunately, we don't have a tower ...

  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    Agree with you there, Pearl B4 Swine. Planning and execution are key ingredients and someone who can improvise seamlessly when the person mean to turn out the lights forgets to, well, that goes without saying. :)
  • Of course for Orthodox services it's the same every week, every liturgical season, every year. The only thing a post-mortem could discuss are mis-steps, which can't be planned for (or against), and the sermon. And once Fr. Michael gets going, there's not much you can do.
  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    @mousethief You make Orthodoxy sound monotonous, which is very far from being the case. But it requires preparations rather than post-mortems.

    Someone has to make the prophora (and remember to bring it), somone has to have the troparia and kontakia at their fingertips (and in the right tone), likewise the Matins Canon. For Theophany the large vessel for the Blessing of the Waters, for Palm Sunday the fragrant bunches tied with ribbons, enough for everyone and spares, for Pascha the red candles (with drip trays) and the red & white carnations to take home, the cushion for the priest's knees at the Pentecost Vespers, the trikiri and dikiri if the Bishop is visiting, etc. etc.

    So many surprises and so little monotony - that's what contributes to making Orthodox worship glorious.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    Those categories ignore the realities of rule by Flower Rotas ladies, rule by Organist, rule by Caretaker ...

    Rule by Vicar's wife and her BBF is the danger here. Says he feeling henpecked.
  • cgichard wrote: »
    @mousethief You make Orthodoxy sound monotonous, which is very far from being the case. But it requires preparations rather than post-mortems.

    Someone has to make the prophora (and remember to bring it), somone has to have the troparia and kontakia at their fingertips (and in the right tone), likewise the Matins Canon. For Theophany the large vessel for the Blessing of the Waters, for Palm Sunday the fragrant bunches tied with ribbons, enough for everyone and spares, for Pascha the red candles (with drip trays) and the red & white carnations to take home, the cushion for the priest's knees at the Pentecost Vespers, the trikiri and dikiri if the Bishop is visiting, etc. etc.

    So many surprises and so little monotony - that's what contributes to making Orthodox worship glorious.

    True, but there's nothing to post-mortem, in the sense of "what worked and what could we do differently." The services are glorious, but not mix-and-match.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited January 12
    Similarly, the stuff we have to post-mortem is almost never in the BCP, it is almost always the popular devotions, and stuff from the Supplement that causes the problems. The 'once you have learnt to ride a bicycle' rule seems to apply.
  • PhilipVPhilipV Shipmate
    Keep the lights on. The midnight 'candlelight' service is not a good idea because this is the worship time that attracts a lot of people into their only service of the year. It doesn't seem apt that their only experience of 'doing church' is divergent, unusual twinkle.
  • But We've Always Done It That Way (the midnight candlelit service)!

    The Law of the Medes and the Persians applies... :grimace:

    (And maybe what attracts people to their only service of the year is precisely the divergent, unusual twinkle).
  • (And maybe what attracts people to their only service of the year is precisely the divergent, unusual twinkle).
    I can say with some certainty that’s the case at our place.

  • Which gives your minister a wonderful, once-a-year, opportunity to carefully present them with the truth of the Incarnation.

    An opportunity not by any means to be despised, or rejected.

    (This may, in all fairness, lead to the question as to why they don't come to any other service!)
  • Gone are the days where on Christmas eve people used to roll out of the pubs and into the church at 11:30 pm. Actually the problem is earlier in the evening, the people are not in the pubs in the first place, at least in this northern English city. Therefore the people who come out at 11:30pm on that night are likely to be church goers.
  • True, and not so many of them these days, either!

    I'm told that a number of churches now have their 'Midnight Mass', or 'First Mass/Eucharist/Communion of Christmas' at a somewhat earlier time - 8pm or thereabouts - on Christmas Eve. Without wishing to go off on too much of a tangent, I wonder if those churches have found this earlier time to suit people better - not just the 'regular' churchgoers, but the occasionals, too?
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