Well the best laid plans – right?  When we decided to open our campus for in-person worship on June 7th we did some survey work to determine our potential needs. Our data showed that we might expect just under a hundred folks to show up (in 2 services). Unfortunately, that has not turned out to be the case. The average attendance at our 9:00 am service has been about 35 – the average at 11 about half of that. And the numbers of folks showing up to worship on our campus seem to be declining rather than building. However, our livestream “attendance” (the number of screens that view our services in all off the various venues combined) is holding very steady and is encouraging. We have also been so pleased with the giving (electronic, mail and in person) – thank you so much! What that tells us, I think, is that people are still engaged in the life of Westwood Church but are just not ready to come back to in-person worship just yet. We will get there, but we are not there right now.

On top of those dynamics, as our staff has been planning for the fall, two realities have been come clear: 1) We will likely not be able to go back to 3 services (8:30, 9:45 and 11) anytime soon. Frankly our in-person attendance simply doesn’t merit three services and the chapel is not the right venue to social distance. That being the case, we will be at two services, in a more blended style, for the foreseeable future. 2) If we are going to offer Sunday School (which we hope to do but aren’t sure yet) we need to tighten the time between services. So, we had started to make plans to change our worship times one more time (flexibility is key right now isn’t it?) to 9:30 and 11:00 am. That still gives us ample time to clear the building and clean between services but also makes attending Sunday School at 9:30 and then worship at 11 very doable. We were planning on making that change mid-August as we begin our fall season.

Add those two on-going conversations together (our slower than expected in-person attendance and our need to change service times) and the next step seems clear. We have decided to only offer one in-person worship service each Sunday on our campus and move that service time to 9:30 am. Then, when our attendance begins to return, we will restart our 11:00 am live service. We will continue to offer livestreaming at our 9:30 am service and then that service will be ready to watch again by 11:00 am or anytime you want after that. So, if you are used to watching the livestream at 11 am, you still can, only it will be a rebroadcast of the early service. If you would prefer to watch the service at 11 pm – you can do that too. It will be up to you. We will go back to two on-campus services when our attendance gets to the point that we need to do that and we will look forward to that day.

All this change starts THIS SUNDAY!! So, THIS SUNDAY worship at the Westwood Church campus is at 9:30 am. Livestream at the same time and the rebroadcast will be available by 11 am.

Thanks for being flexible and hanging with us. These are times when flexibility is a must.

Pastor Scott

PS One more note about this Sunday: We had scheduled our first baptism since this pandemic began, of course at 11:00 am. Since we are not having the 11 am service we will still be doing the baptism of their little one, and livestreaming it, at 11. So watch for that livestream feed and join in as we celebrate a little one that God loves.