One of the ways we are working towards our goal of creating a culture of shared ministry is by establishing a Worship Associates program. The Worship Associates work collaboratively with the minister(s) and other program staff to create a cohesive worship calendar for the year, serve as liturgists when the minister is in the pulpit, assist guest speakers and others in the congregation to lead services, lead their own services when they feel ready, and generally “mother hen” the Sunday morning worship time.
Worship Associates are invited to apply for the program. They then attend a full day of initial training. They meet monthly with the minister to continue to learn together about the nature of worship, plan services, assess the worship experience, and work together on enhancing the worship experience for the entire congregation.
In their first year, the Worship Associates experimented with some alternative worship experiences at times other than Sunday morning. On a quarterly basis they offered an evening worship program, planned around either earth based rituals (such as solstice services) or holidays from the liturgical calendar (such as a Hanukkah celebration). This led to the creation of a new worship program: Vespers. The Vespers program offers an alternative worship experience.
Current Worship Associates are: Linda Sanders, Tracy Spinka-Doms, Suzanne Perry, Jim Curtis, David Weiss, Edris Harrell, Carmen Bell-Delgado, Doyle Dobbins, Kate Franta, Helen Foss, Jan Shay.