Changes in Service Times on Sunday Mornings at Holy Trinity Utrecht

The following text comes from the accepted proposal that was presented at the Chaplaincy Council Meeting May 25, AD2016

Three years ago at Holy Trinity we had a few reasons for changing the time of the second morning service on Sunday, from 10:30am, first to 10:45am and then to 11am.

Reasons for the change three years ago:

1      The services on the 2nd and 4th Sundays were getting longer, for a few reasons, the liturgy was longer (we wanted to treat it not so much as a kind of service to visitors but as a mainstream service offered in the church), and we had more people attending all the time so the number of communicants rose, which takes longer.

2      We were finding that there was too much of a crush between people leaving the first service and arriving at the second.  This was especially a problem on the 4th Sundays with the larger Amersfoort congregation and on high feast days with many more in attendance

3      We were using the change of times with the hope of at some point offering something between the two services – possibly an adult Sunday School, possibly a coffee time – for greater fellowship and the making of connections between people leaving the early service and those coming to later service.

4      It was hoped that the priest would have a space to breath between the two services to be more recollected for the second service and there would be more time for altar servers cleaning up from the first service and preparing for the second.

There are now reasons to change back:

1      With the opening of All Saints’ Amersfoort, the 9am services in Utrecht have had a significant reduction in regular attendance.  We have already changed the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays to said English Holy Communion services, starting this June – these will be much shorter. The longest service, the 4th Sunday 9am congregation has reduced to 60 or 70 in attendance instead of 110 to 130.  The 2nd Sunday 9am congregation is similar to what it was, about 40 to 60.  We have already looked at ways of shortening the Traditional Dutch services and have implemented the changes.

2      Peter Boswijk has spoken to members of both the Amersfoort and Utrecht Catholic Apostolic communities and they have agreed that on the high feasts, they would actually prefer one Traditional Dutch service on the day after the high feast (Dec 26, Easter Monday and Pentecost Monday), not at 9am on the Feast day itself.

3      We have had some success in our hope for better fellowship between the people of the 11am and 9am services through engaging members from a Catholic Apostolic background, some of whom began attending 11am services more regularly also, and through their involvement in Council and in other ministries of teaching and fellowship (e.g. Away Day, Christian Classics, Men’s Group).

4      Concerns have been expressed repeatedly by those who attend the 11am service that with sometimes longer services at 11am (this is also being given some attention) and the later service time, people are less likely to stay for fellowship after the service, and staying after is definitely something we want to encourage.

Proposed:       That beginning in September 2016, the service time of the second morning service be moved back from 11am to 10:30am.  Carried.