In an exciting new development the Church of England’s Department for Outreach and Mission has issued details about two new initiatives. The first is to be known as CHURCH LIGHT. Those churches who decide to take part in the scheme will offer a “light” edition of the normal Sunday service which is to be published in the near future. The Basic Service will consist of a short reading from the New Testament, some well-known worship songs, a 3 minute address, The Lord’s Prayer and a Blessing. The Extended version will include some short, pithy prayers and the option of a reading from the Old Testament. The Extended Service “Light plus” will include a brief Eucharistic Prayer, specially designed for the service and will be recommended for use at Christmas and Easter services.
Churches will be able to opt into the new scheme or not, as they choose but unless they opt in they will not be eligible for the other new imitative: Church Club Card. A spokesperson said it was felt that the majority of churches would want to opt in, even if it is was only to make the Club Card available. It was hoped that each church/Worship Centre would hold one Church Light Service every Sunday and, as the spokesperson pointed out, that didn’t prevent other services being held. The spokesperson said that the Church Light Service did not necessarily need to be held in church; it could be held in a supermarket, on a football pitch, in a country park or recreational ground – the opportunities were endless and as varied as ones imagination.
The Church Club Card will be available for every member who attends a Worship Centre/Church and who goes on to the Electoral Roll. They will be given their own unique Card which will be swiped in a special machine at the end of the service as they leave the Worship Centre. People will earn Club points depending on which service they attend. For example if they opt for the “Light” service they will get one point, for the Extended version they will get two points and for the Extended Service Plus they will get three points. Normal services would earn 3 points. Extra points can be earned by undertaking small tasks. For example: cleaning the church will earn 3 points, singing in the Worship Group will earn 3 points for every attendance, helping with keeping the church tidy outside will earn 3 points. At the end of the quarter the number of points earned will be shown on a statement and these can be redeemed using one of the many different options available including discounts on motor and home insurance, different eateries and take aways, discounts on holidays, pilgrimages and retreats.
The spokesperson related that these two schemes were the brain-child of Professor Jane Woolley, Professor of Applied Business Psychology and Interpersonal Relationships. When the Bishops had viewed the proposals they were delighted, she said. With the rapid decline in attendances over the last few years this was something which could redress the balance they thought and they thoroughly recommended it to every parish.