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?