Significant changes are on the horizon at Over-the-Rhine Community Church. Over the last few months, a group of nine leaders from the church and myself have formed a leadership team, which we have named our “Launch Team.” Our purpose is to discern what sort of church God is calling us to be as we re-new our church identity in the rapidly shifting landscape of Over-the-Rhine (OTR). In the process of this work, we have made the collaborative decision to make two foundational changes to our Sunday ministries:
1. Moving our worship time from 9:30 am to 10:30 am
2. Re-visioning our breakfast and dinner meals
The process began with realizing that a worship time of 9:30 am is ineffective when it comes to being a church accessible to our neighborhood. With this later worship time, it is our hope and expectation that more residents in OTR will participate in worship.
This change also opened up the door to discerning next steps for the Sunday breakfast and dinner that have been operating out of our church for over two decades. After much deliberation, we’ve decided the time has come to adapt these ministries into environments that call people into deeper relationship and church community. This means that the meals are going to function and look completely different from how we know them now.
Our new vision for the breakfast and dinner meals is for them to become gatherings that rely on people of all classes and economic status to both serve and eat together on equal ground. Our hope is to grow these meals into worshipful environments operating under the standard that as we show up to eat, we also show up to serve one-another.
Breakfast will move to 8:30 am and will essentially serve as the pre-worship experience to our service that will start at 10:30 am. This meal will be led by a small group from Over-the-Rhine Community Church and rely on weekly volunteers dedicated to our community, but mostly run by the people who show up for the meal.
The most significant change for dinner is that we will move this gathering outside of Sunday and the church building, most likely in people’s homes and public spaces. The vision for the dinner is to provide a space that our church can invite the people of our neighborhood to, which doesn’t look so much like “standard church.”
For all those involved in one or both of these ministries, please know you will always be welcome to participate in these new meals! The “work,” however, will be entirely different. Volunteering in these ministries will certainly include some prep work, cooking, and the sort; but most importantly it will mean the expectation of participating in a peer-to-peer gathering that is focused on building long-term and lasting relationships.
We would like to invite you all to a celebratory worship service after the final dinner on October 25 at 6:00 pm. This will be a service made up mostly of singing, prayer, and sharing testimonies around what God has been doing out of our church in OTR. It will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all that God has done in the past, and where God is taking us in the future. We hope to see you there.
Pastor, Over-the-Rhine Community