The more things change, the more they stay the same…
That adage jumps to mind hearing the news that Wilton Congregational Church is adding a worship service that they say will revolutionize attending church by answering the call of young families hoping to find more contemporary programs. Starting this Sunday, Jan. 7, the church has added a second service, the new 11 a.m. Worship Band service incorporating local music, casual clothing and family-relevant programs. By making these updates, WCC hopes to bring new families to the traditions of religion with a more modern flair.
Key to the change is making music a central focus of the new service.
“Music has always been an integral part of church service throughout history. It is worship, prayer and a message all in one. It also engages people in a different way than just words. Mozart was contemporary for his time–it was the music his peers enjoyed at church. We are simply bringing today’s music to today’s churchgoers. It’s simple evolution,” explains Joni Wallace, who will lead the
Wilton Congregational Church has roots stretching back to the 1726, when the Town of Wilton originally petitioned the state of Connecticut to separate from Norwalk and create the Wilton Parish where locals could gather and worship together.
Church officials say they are once again rising to meet the worship needs of the community by adding this second service every Sunday at 11 a.m.. (WCC’s traditional service will move to 9:30 a.m., and a coffee hour will be between the two services at 10:30 a.m.; there will be child care and Sunday school at both services.) The new service was created after research both nationally and locally determined there is a strong desire by young families to raise their children within a local faith community, but in a more contemporary setting than what has been historically available.
Organizers say WCC is answering that call and tailoring a service specifically to respond to those needs and wants–as WCC continues to evolve–the more things change–they’ll continue to provide Wilton families an opportunity to worship together freely, just as they did in 1726–the more they stay the same.
In addition to Wallace, worshipers will find familiar musicians from Wilton Singers, Wilton Rocks for Food and Acoustic Wilton participating and leading in the service. She says that its very reflective of how big a part music plays in Wilton.
“Music is on fire in Wilton right now. There is an inordinately large number of very talented people in this town who are not professional musicians but love the opportunity to play. Events like Acoustic Wilton (celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year), Wilton Rocks, the Wilton Go Green Music Stage and the new summer series simply give these artists space to live their buried dream. And clearly the joy that it gives them carries from the stage right into the crowd at these events,” she says, adding that the Wilton Schools have had consistently strong music programs decades now and parents who may have musical talents themselves are drawn to the town because of it.
“I think it’s a very important and wonderful facet of our town,” Wallace says.
As for what kind of music worshipers will hear at WCC’s Worship Band service, she says, “The music will reflect Billboard magazine’s Top Christian Contemporary Song Lists from the last few years as well as secular rock music that offers a positive message, like Collective Soul’s “Shine.”