What are the two most church-y days of the year? Christmas Eve and Easter? Reformation Sunday and Pentecost? At Good Shepherd, my answer would be the two amazing Sundays that bookend our programmatic year, “Rally Raleigh Days” and the day of our big year-end picnic.
What’s so church-y about “Rally Raleigh Days” and a picnic? That’s a good question considering we probably spend less time inside Good Shepherd those days than most other Sundays.
But what if church is people instead of just a building? What if church is something we are together and not just a place we go? If church looks like being in community, in Christ, regardless of location, then these two days are very “church-y.”
On “Rally Raleigh Days” and the Sunday of the year-end picnic, we consolidate down to two worship services and encourage our congregation to gather together. On “Rally Raleigh Days,” after Labor Day Weekend, we gather to worship and serve our neighbor. At the year-end picnic, before Memorial Day Weekend, we gather to worship and celebrate our life together.
In 2019, the former will evolve to look a little more like the latter, as we have found that the “Rally Raleigh Day” formula has been a growing success. Here’s what we imagine the year-end picnic, scheduled for Sunday, May 19, will look like.
With Memorial Day marking the unofficial start of summer, Good Shepherd transitions to a summer worship schedule, removing the Sunday Morning Education hour for the season, on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. The year-end picnic will always occur the Sunday before Memorial Day Weekend. On that Sunday, there will be two worship services; one at 8:15 am in the sanctuary and one at 9:30 am “in-the-world,” which we are hoping will be Williams Park, next to Lynn Road Elementary on the corner of Lead Mine and Lynn Road. With parking, a pavilion, playground, field and bathrooms all within close proximity, it proved to be an ideal location.
After worshiping “in-the-world”, the year-end picnic, also known as the Kicknic, will commence around 11:00 am and, like “Rally Raleigh Day,” we want EVERYONE there. Instead of Sunday School teachers throwing a party in their classrooms that day, let’s all party together in the park! Everyone needs lunch, right? We’ll eat, laugh, and celebrate for about an hour before starting our annual kickball game at noon. At 1:30 pm we’ll call it a day, holding no 5:30 evening service.
I can’t think of a better way to close out the year… together, as church!