FAIRMONT — Members of Grace Lutheran Church took advantage of the beautiful summer months — and Fairmont’s parks — to hold an outdoor Wednesday evening service at Sylvania Park Bandshell in Fairmont.
Congregation member Patti Matthews said: “As a church, we worship on Wednesdays year-round. We do it in the park during the summer.
She said they actually started holding outdoor Wednesday night services last year.
“We had a change of pastors and we are going to have another change of pastors. We have a new pastor coming in September,” Matthews explained.
However, she said they have a strong worship team working to reach out to the community more, hence the idea of the worship on the water.
Worship on the Water is a service held from the Let’s Go Fishing pontoon on Lake Sisseton. For this, people can witness on the water from their boats or kayaks or participate from the shores of Ward Park.
Matthews said the reason they were trying something new was because something new had to be done.
“Churches need to rethink what they do,” she says.
She said things had also changed since Covid and people weren’t really coming in in droves. Regarding attendance at outdoor park services, Mathews said attendance generally fluctuates in the summer with busy schedules, and while attendance is not what they hoped for, even if a person has , they agree with that.
Matthews said they would like to collaborate with other churches in the future. She said Doug Peterson of the East Chain Evangelical Free Church, which has held church services on the lawn for the past few summers, came over and wished them luck.
“You know we do the same thing for the same reasons. It’s about getting the word out to the community,” said Matthews.
The services are very heavy on the music, which is performed live by a number of talented members of the congregation. Jen Kahler, a member of the worship team, said there were between four and seven people performing.
“We have drums, keyboard, singer, guitar. This is what our group usually consists of. said Kahler.
She said a message and prayers were also part of the service although music was a focal point.
“It’s much more informal. It’s pretty relaxed and you can’t beat the lake as a backdrop,” Kahler laughs.
It’s more casual than a typical service in the hopes that it will reach those who may have left the church or are looking for something different. However, longtime members of the congregation have also attended, as it also offers them something different.
“One of the hopes of doing the service at the park is to make it a worship service that is not limited to the walls of the church. The hope is that having the service at the park will remove some barriers and make it more comfortable for anyone to show up,” said Kahler.
She and Matthews emphasized that everyone is welcome to attend the service.
“We want people to be loved and the name of Jesus to come out. If you are just strolling around the lake, come join us. If you want a breath of fresh air, come get lifted. said Matthews.
Outdoor services will continue from 6 p.m. until August. This Sunday, August 7, worship on the water will take place at 11 a.m. In case of rain, it will be August 14.