Tom and I work on Sundays here at Fort Frederica this year. We lead the Living History Program at the park and the program has expanded to Saturdays and Sundays. When we were at Fort Frederica last year, we had Sundays off and went to Sunday School as well as the very traditional service at Wesley UMC across the street. Because there are three couples doing Living History on the weekends, we are rotating who sets up on Sundays and who goes to church. This week Tom and I went to the 9 a.m. Oasis Contemporary Service at Wesley UMC.
The Oasis Contemporary Service at Wesley meets in the Celebration Hall (definitely not a gym). We got to the service about 10 minutes early and were a little confused. No one else was at the service and the room was completely empty! A few minutes later other people started to enter the room. A video went up on the screen with a countdown to the service time. Gradually people wandered in and most of the chairs facing the “chancel” were full by 9:10.
Everyone at the service sits in chairs around tables. The tables are round and I can see the setup being awkward if the room is full and you have to sit with your back to the stage. I’m sure most people would just turn their chairs around. There are also pews around the outside of the room and several people sat in those. You could get coffee, tea, and a muffin someplace so people carried those into the service as well. One of the other volunteers from the park, Keith, joined us at our table.
The Oasis Contemporary service is 45 minutes long, so it doesn’t have a lot of extras in it. We sang three praise songs, led by an acoustic band with a guitar, keyboard, and conga drums. David Herndon is the Youth Minister and also leads the service and the band. I knew all the songs and rejoiced in being able to sing along. We had a prayer time, then Rev. Gene Yates preached. He is the Minister of Pastoral Care, at least until next week when he is retiring (again) and moving. He gave a well-organized sermon on Jesus calling us.
After the sermon, there were some announcements and then a closing song. We put our offering in a basket as we left the room. We hoped to greet a few folks, but no one seemed interested in talking to us. So we left and headed home to change our clothes and get to work.
We enjoyed the Oasis Contemporary service. The 9 a.m. service time will fit into our work schedule but we will miss going to Sunday School. The Wesley congregation has a lot of other activities, so maybe we will find another way to get involved.