Mar 082009
 

In my placement church there has been a bit of a move away from reading out intimations at the beginning of the service, if for no other reason than it can take a fair bit of time and there is also the tendency of people to stick their head round the vestry door with 5 minutes to go and say, “Can you read this notice out?”

Now it’s a case of reminding people to read the intimations sheet or watch the notices Powerpoint that runs prior to the service starting. And if anyone has an urgent notice to bring to the congregation’s attention, they themselves (and not one of the ministry team) are welcome to read it out before the service starts.

I would think I’m largely in agreement, especially if it is simply a case of reiterating what’s in print. After all, what place does notice of committee meetings, or when the next whatever organisation meeting is have as part of a service of worship? By the same token, I’ve also seen intimations done in a very different way where it becomes a time of sharing church family news, including what organisations are up to and when they will be doing other things.

When it is purely a ‘notification’ process then I think it struggles to find its place in a service and restricting it to the intimation sheet or pre-service announcements is perfectly acceptable. The place where I saw it being done differently had it immediately prior to a prayer and the prayer then became one of thanksgiving for all that was happening in the  life of the congregation and intercession for all that was coming up.

I’m not convinced that any other ‘theological spin’ can be found for including intimations or notices within the service ‘proper’, but I’m happy to be corrected. But that thought in itself raises questions about whether everything done during a service needs to be ‘proper’. By stripping out anything that doesn’t have some sort of theological justification are we divorcing the worship service from ‘life’? And if all of our life should be a ‘sacrifice of praise’ to God, then are mundane things such as notices not part of that?

  5 Responses to “Intimations?”

  1. Personally, if it’s printed on an order of service and/or on a powerpoint-type presentation, I don’t see why it needs to be read out. I, like most of the congregation, can read the notices ourselves.
    There are some notices that have to be read out – ordination of elders springs to mind. I always feel sorry for my session clerk when he has to read them out! Also, important news that couldn’t be included in the order of service. For example, my husband and I’s accident was intimated – to stunned silence I’m told.
    As for the ministry team reading out notices – why? If they are of the legal type and must be read by the minister, fair enough, but sometimes a different voice will make the congregation listen. So, yes, get the individual who wishes to announce something to do it themselves!

  2. Personally, if it’s printed on an order of service and/or on a powerpoint-type presentation, I don’t see why it needs to be read out. I, like most of the congregation, can read the notices ourselves.
    There are some notices that have to be read out – ordination of elders springs to mind. I always feel sorry for my session clerk when he has to read them out! Also, important news that couldn’t be included in the order of service. For example, my husband and I’s accident was intimated – to stunned silence I’m told.
    As for the ministry team reading out notices – why? If they are of the legal type and must be read by the minister, fair enough, but sometimes a different voice will make the congregation listen. So, yes, get the individual who wishes to announce something to do it themselves!

  3. I’ll agree and disagree.  I think a meaningless list of dates being read from the front is pointless (and dull).  However, as you said John, that list of dates and notices is a summary of the LIFE of the community.  I’ve been in places where they make a feature of a different part of the life of the church each week.  People are introduced to the congregation, groups are talked about, their work celebrated, people thanked and prayed for.  That’s a very different spin on a list of announcements.

  4. The intimidations (as someone once referred to them) are almot a necessary evil. As Stewart rightly says, they are indications of the life of the congregation and this needs to be celebrated. However, the other issue (and I think it’s a different one) is that of the last minute referral. The vast majority of these are just laziness on the part of the referrer. They need to be told to get them in print or they won’t be read ! I’m all to aware that there can be legitimate last minute announcements (of deaths, accidents, totals of fundraising events etc) but these are the exception rather than the rule.
    Celebrate the life ! Don’t bore with too much detail. 

  5. In my placement church intimidations are printed on the Order of service, and scroll along the screen before and after the service. They are also read out after the children go to Sunday Club. When I asked, I was told they were read out for the benefit of the recorded CD and the blind members of the congregation.

    Only current notices are read – standard recurrent  ones are available on a separate sheet which anyone can pick up anytime. It works well. Notices don’t take a lot of time, and it allows the congregation to participate in the wider life of the church and community – it’s all part of what we are about.

    Prior to this there is a controlled time of chat when the children leave – the minister poses a question on the children’s theme or the theme of the day where we are encouraged to turn to our neighbours and talk to them –  a good way of incorporating visitors and new folks into the life of the church ( and it helps people to get to know others better!). So the intimidations follow on from the “fun” part before it gets “serious” and grown up!

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