On Sunday, August 23, Friendship Mennonite Church in Bedford Heights, Ohio, celebrated a “World Conference Sunday” during our worship service. Several of our church members and attenders were able to attend the July 2015 Mennonite World Conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and were eagerly anticipating the chance to share these experiences with the congregation.
The worship service had several elements: an original skit, sharing time, playing of a video montage and music… lots of it!
The skit attempted to reproduce the environment of worship at world conference and featured a simulated audience at world conference and some of the conversations that we were having as we gathered before “worship time.” These “conversations” highlighted many details from conference and observations that we were having during our time together. Skit participants even wore their name badges and conference satchels. The skit ended with “worship starting” where we played actually video footage from world conference and were able to sing along with a song featured during worship time.
The skit was followed by sharing time where several of the conference attenders spoke about some specific experiences that they had at the conference. In order to make sharing time accessible for a teen in the congregation, his sharing time consisted of interview-style sharing where he was able to answer specific questions rather than prepare a spoken statement.
Our audio-visual team then played the 6-minute video that was produced by Mennonite World Conference to share with congregations. This video gave a very nice overview of the week and its many facets.
Finally, a large part of the morning was devoted to singing song selections from the wonderful music featured at world conference. In order to do this well, our singers met ahead of time to choose music and decide which songs we could share well with the congregation. Our greatest difficulty was trimming our list of songs as there were so many favorite songs on our list! One administrative difficulty with the singing was gaining permissions to project the music as many of these songs are not in the hymnals.
For worship arts, we displayed a turquoise piece of fabric, over which we laid three of the scarves that MCC was giving to conference attendees. In addition, one of the children from our congregation had attended the children’s programming at world conference, where she had made a banner, so that was also displayed in the front of the church.
Our hope and prayer was that the worship service would give the congregation a good feel for the conference environment, provide them with detail about the conference, and be an inspiration as well. I know that those of us who attended world conference were very blessed by the experience. Our hope was that we might share some of that inspiration so that God’s glory might continue to flow from our great week together in Harrisburg!