Members stepping into leadership roles at Carthage UMC
March 21, 2022 / By Rev. Fran Hemstreet, Carthage UMC pastor
Worship planning had been part of the Administrative Council monthly agenda for years. When the pandemic started in 2020, the worship team began to meet separately from the Council. The members became more active in helping to plan worship services with the Certified Lay Minister. Doing services over Zoom and Facebook was a challenge. The Carthage UMC church family includes two people whose secular work requires digital expertise, and the worship team asked Wayne Slye and Sarah Millard to help. They now work weekly to assure that the Zoom and Facebook platforms work well.
Then in Summer 2021, when in-person worship was again permitted, the team began to think of ways to encourage people to return for in-person worship, through planning special services for holidays like Labor Day, All Saints Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Epiphany, and Valentine’s Day, by creating and distributing worship aids. In addition, the team helped the pastor to plan a Stewardship Sunday in November, for the first time in many years.
Members of the worship team recruit people in the congregation a week ahead of time to read the Scripture reading during the Sunday services and the special services. It is inspiring to hear God’s Word voiced inclusively. Once the mask mandate ended, some of the more popular traditional elements in worship, such as singing the Gloria Patri and sharing in Responsive Readings, were reintroduced. It is hoped that the long-standing traditions of singing the hymns in full voice, and handshakes and hugs during the Passing the Peace, will be reintroduced soon.
The worship team plans to reintroduce palms to the Palm Sunday service, and to offer Maundy Thursday and Good Friday evening services, and to hold a special Easter Sunday service in 2022. The team meets monthly just before Administrative Council meetings, to share ideas and make plans. We work well together as a team when all worship team members are welcome to share ideas--and to share in the work!
Barbara Gotham is the chairperson of the worship team and is a member of the Women’s Covenant Group; she decided to take the lay speaker’s course “so I could become a better disciple to Jesus Christ. Thereby, being able to reach out to others with the knowledge I have gained to help them in their discipleship journey.”
Brenda Simon is the Carthage UMC lay leader; she is a member of the worship team and of the Women’s Covenant Group; once she completed the lay speaker’s course she was asked to provide pulpit supply for Lundy Chapel while their pastor is on vacation.