Check out this article from Church Society’s magazine, Cross+Way, by Brian Green (not to be confused with Bryan Green) here. Green describes how when he went to a parish in a small town of about 4,500 people, he discussed with the Vestry their goals, which they described as “(a) to ‘feed’ the insiders, and (b) to reach the outsiders.  I asked what was their pattern of worship, and received the answer—seven Holy Communion services and two non-eucharistic type of worship per 4 Sundays.  We agreed that the insiders were looked after, but the outsiders needed more to encourage them.  A change was agreed, resulting in a regular weekly pattern—Holy Communion at 9am, a “Parish Service” (not “Family” so as not to exclude the single or widowed) at 10.30am, and an Evening Prayer at 6pm.” After six years, while Communion attendance remained at around 35, “the Parish Service grew from 50 to capacity at 180, and Evening Prayer grew from 6 to 30.  Eventually a monthly Communion in place of the Parish Service had 80-100
communicants. Is it possible that we need to rediscover the value of all-inclusive non-Eucharistic worship?”

Some, of course, like Charles Simeon, have been brought to faith by attending (or preparing to attend) a Communion service, but there seems little doubt that the majority of non-Christians, if they become curious about Christ and His followers, would be more comfortable at non-Eucharistic worship.

The challenge, of course, is getting insiders to consider changing their practice for the sake of outsiders. For some, this takes a conversion experience as deep as from faith in self to faith in Christ.

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