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Go "Beyond Worship" this summer

Starting June 24, the Congregational Church of Batavia will once again hold only one worship service for the summer Sundays through August 12. This choice reflects a wish to optimize the worship experience for those attending while acknowledging the reality of lower attendance over the summer as families travel on vacation. However, the team in charge of planning worship at the church understands that some families or individuals who normally come at 10:30 may not be able to get to a 9 a.m. service. Also, visitors who don’t know the summer schedule may arrive later, expecting a 10:30 worship service. Therefore, the 10:30 hour will be filled with a program of worship-related events called "Beyond Worship" this summer.

Each Beyond Worship event will be an independent experience. Visitors can attend assured they’re on an equal footing with those who came previous weeks, as can people who have been away. Most of the offered events are appropriate for the entire family and should be both fun and worthwhile.

June 24 Taizé service: While churches in this country more commonly hold Taizé services in the evening, no rule says the form won’t work at other times. Join us for a service of quiet reflection: singing simple choruses, listening to scripture, and resting in a prolonged time of silent meditation and prayer.

For the month of July, the Beyond Worship sessions will focus on developing spiritual practices that help personal faith grow. Again, each topic will be self-contained so you can attend any one of them with confidence.

July 1 Celebrating God through art: Local artist Lynn Zuk-Lloyd will provide a simple finger puppet and drawing exercise to help anyone from preschool age through adult to connect with God and celebrate what God is doing in their lives.

July 8 Prayer: more than just words: Church member Lindsey Huddleston welcomes children as well as teens and adults to an exploration of praying thru moving ... movement as prayer. Come learn about communication with God beyond the boundaries of words.

July 15 Silence/solitude as a worship aid: Peace with God (the topic of the morning’s 9 a.m. service) involves communion—communication, yes, but also just being with. Silence and solitude offer approaches to a more intimate relationship with God. Either can be very difficult to achieve in a life filled with people and technology. Do you need or dread silence and/or solitary time? Come learn more about how quiet and solitude can become wells of spiritual refreshment.

July 22 The value of copying Scripture: While fancy calligraphy is often associated with writing out passages of Scripture, messy or decorative handwriting is not the point when copying acts as a way to grow closer to the meaning of the text, so pick a favorite verse and come to this session. All ages welcome. Multiple kinds of writing tools will be available, plus print materials for cutting and pasting letters or words from. Or bring a laptop/netbook computer and get creative with fonts for your chosen Scripture passage.

July 29 What do Fasting and Sabbath have in common—and why should we care? Both the practice of fasting and of keeping Sabbath are often seen as mostly negative, but both intend to re-connect us with God in a deeper way. Following up on the 9 o’clock service’s theme for the week, of keeping Sabbath, this session will consider what keeping Sabbath and fasting mean beyond a list of “don’t do’s.”

Aug 5 Hymn sing: The congregation and friends are invited to come for a time of singing favorite hymns. The worship team will be informally introducing the new hymnals to participants. A formal dedication of the new hymnals will take place a couple of weeks later, after the church has returned to the normal, 2-service schedule for fall.

Aug 12 Taize service: Because one good Taizé service deserves another, the last Beyond Worship event of the 2012 summer will be a second Taizé service.

The Congregational Church of Batavia is a United Church of Christ congregation. If any of these events appeal to you, please come. All are welcome and there is no admission charge for any of the sessions.

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