Come Once to Adult Worship


A year ago, as part of our commitment to welcome everyone to worship with us no matter where they are on life’s journey, First Congregational started a worship service for adults. We recognize that for a variety of reasons some people would prefer to attend (or should only attend) a worship service when children are not present. This service is being offered to meet those needs. This is a full service of Christian worship, but children are not present in the service or in the church building.

In our work with victims and offenders and in our worship services, we realized that a group of people were excluded from our regular Sunday morning worshiping communities. Many people convicted of, or in treatment for, sex offenses cannot or should not attend regular worship services because children are present. In many churches, Sunday morning services begin with entire families together in the pews until the children leave for Sunday School after the children’s sermon. The goal of keeping families together and teaching children how to worship in the “big church” is laudable. Most sex offenders, however, are not allowed to be in situations of any kind when children are present, including worship. This is, of course, a reasonable precaution for the safety of the youngest members of the congregation, and the presence of known sex offenders in worship could be very disturbing to parents. (It is important to point out the vast majority of child sexual assaults are committed by someone the child knows. Identifying sex offenders in the congregation or in the community is no guarantee of safety.)

If you want to know what this service is like, ask Susan and Herb Heneman, Mari McCarty, Bob and Joanne Lenburg or Janet Pugh who have been attending regularly. Jeff, Don, Doug and Eldonna have also been part of the worship team.

I know that this seems like a lot to ask: to come to the chapel and sit next to sex offenders. But what we are really offering is a chance to respond to the Gospel and treat “the least of these” as we would treat Jesus simply by coming to worship in the chapel.

~ Jerry Hancock


Posted on March 12, 2013 at 10:26 am in Featured News.

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