Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Saturday Night Service

Tonight, while my dad is on vacation, I will be heading to Woodward to conduct services at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday night. Saturday night services have always fascinated me a little bit -- in many ways they are appealing to me as a person (I could very easily see myself in retirement attending a Saturday night service -- if only most had good bible study attached!). Saturday night tends to be a lousy night for TV (actually, Sunday morning is much better for TV if you like Sports as I do or politics) - plus, you get dressed up, go to Church, then maybe catch dinner or a movie. It becomes part of your day.

Sometimes with Sundays -- well, once I get home from Church, generally that's all she wrote. Church is mentally and emotionally fatiguing (and that's not including the Sundays where I am fighting a cold and lose my voice! Thanks be to God that those are rare). I don't know, maybe it's because I'm a morning person and what we have here doesn't start until 9:30, but it seems like Church takes up half the day -- of course, during the week, I've generally been working for 2.5 hours by 9:30, so this might just be impatience combined with my morning personality.

Sometimes I wonder if a Saturday night service wouldn't be beneficial. It might cut down on that whole idea of "Saturday night is party night!" idea. It would undercut the whole "but this is my day to sleep in" argument. Of course the same could be said for a Sunday night service as well.

Of course - all of this is completely theoretical because:
A - We aren't (and shouldn't) move off of Sunday morning
B - I've never actually been to or done a Saturday night service.

As much as and as long as I have thought that a Saturday night service would better fit my own preferences - I've never gone to one. I'm sort of excited for tonight.


in situ said...

Lord willing (and if I can kick out our company before then), I and my family will be there. This'll be a first for me too.

William Weedon said...

We instituted it some years ago. I wish we hadn't in the long run. It's introduced a THIRD congregation. What I wish I had done instead is simply offer Vespers with opportunity for private confession before or after. No sub for Sunday morning (and I think not offering the Eucharist that evening would drive that home) and the gathering then. That was the old pattern in all the Church Orders and I think it was a wise one. A "preparation" service for the Sunday feast.

Nevertheless, enjoy the Saturday service tonight!

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Any additional weekly communion service ends up making a new congregation. . . which makes a lot of sense (and why I generally don't like multiple services). Although I am going to do something this year - as Wheat Harvest approaches in a few weeks, I am going to have a spoken service very early in the morning for my farmers -- show up at 7 or so and then hit your fields as the dew melts away. But that is simply seasonal.

Rev. Luke T. Zimmerman said...

My first parish (one of the dual congregations) had Saturday services only when I arrived. It was a real pain. Never liked it at all.

One of the issues that arose was trying to find substitute pastors for both Sat night/Sun morning. Another problem with my own agenda was that there was little "weekend time" for me. Friday was a day off, but Saturday became another workday.

Additionally, there is some question about the benefit for the congregation. Having a Saturday night service does little for people who have weekend shifts for work. Having a Monday night or midweek night service instead would help meet the needs of such people.

It also helped to kill the parish education program, since having Sunday School/Bible Class at 5pm didn't work, and having it at 7:30pm (after Divine Service) ran into problems with the behavior of children.

So to me, Saturday night got the three strikes: (a) didn't truly meet needs of congregants; (b) hurt parish activities, including education; and (c) was a pain in my scheduling of events, including substitute ministers. I would highly suggest midweek services instead.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Yeah, I think if I were to establish a time for the "But I have to work on Sunday morning" crowd I would move it to a midweek service -- and there is a more natural understanding of having another service in the middle of the week.

Robyn @Leave the Lights On said...

A Saturday evening "anticipatory Mass" (sometimes even two) is now pretty standard for most Catholic parishes. The original reasoning, I'm given to understand, was to make it possible for people who had to work Sundays to go to Church. In reality, they are largely attended by people who want their Sundays to themselves, either because they are not morning people and simply want to sleep in, or are planning to spend all of Sunday traveling to the beach. Kids' soccer games are another reason people go on Saturday night. I think the idea is based on the old Jewish tradition of the Sabbath beginning at sundown the previous day (though for the Saturday evening liturgy, you don't have to wait until the sun actually sets, except on Easter Vigil).

When I worked for the aquarium in Denver, I had to work every Saturday and Sunday because I had no seniority, starting around 7:00 a.m. (sometimes earlier), and often staying until after 4:00 p.m. Impossible to go to church on Sunday with a schedule like that. I actually did depend on the Saturday evening service in those days, but I actually had a hard time finding one where the service was late enough! Many Saturday-evening church types, I suppose, don't want church to interfere with their social lives, so they like it early in the evening. Most services were at 4:00, which I could not make. We switched to a parish which had one Mass at 4 and one at 6.