Church Announcements

Is there any good in church announcements? The Church Marketing Sucks blog sounds off on this question:

The Epic-Fail of Church Announcements
Posted in "Church Marketing Sucks," by Adam Stadtmiller

Picture this scene. You’re in your pew. The worship is amazing, almost transcendent. The song ends in a moment of awe-filled silence. It’s just you and God. And then—train wreck; you are catapulted from a state of ethereal wonder to an awkward announcement about the church cookie bake-off or a video that never seems to have the sound start until seven seconds after it begins.

Nothing in the history of Christendom, save perhaps the Second Crusade, rivals the ineffectiveness of the church’s ability to accomplish an intended purpose more than the medium of in-service announcements.

I recently tweeted that I wished the Bible had some direction in regard to announcements. I was blown away by the response to that tweet. I was not alone in my frustration.
So why are announcements chronically bad? There are a number of answers: ranging from announcement guy or gal walking on stage unprepared and oblivious to where the congregation is emotively; to the presenter thinking this is a great opportunity to practice their stand-up routine.

One of the responses I received on Twitter said, “ The Bible does not have announcements, why should we?” At first I thought, “Yeah, that’s right, down with announcements altogether!” Then, I thought about it. It’s actually not true that the Bible does not have announcements. As a matter of fact, the Bible is one giant announcement.

Comments (16)

In-service announcements should be banned by the canons of the Episcopal Church. Well, maybe not, but I dislike the practice intensely. Why, in heavens name, would we interrupt the flow of a lovely liturgical service with announcements?

June Butler

I guess the question is whether we are principally about the liturgy or whether we are the gathering of God's community. In the latter case announcements are part of our communication of the community "at peace" before we transition into the shared supper.

In Kenya I had the delight of visiting and preaching at a number of services. Not only did they do announcements, but they spent perhaps 20 minutes have the satellite communities dance their respective offerings to the front of the church where the amounts were announced as they were entered into the accounts book.

Our folks do not see each other on a daily basis and announcements give us a time to gather the community as community. I am not sure people ever actually read them.

Everything in moderation, of course, but I actually kind of like in-service announcements. It links the worship-life of the Church, w/ the world for which Christ came.

JC Fisher

Well, as the priest who wishes she could do without the announcements, I've tried and it don't work, folks. There are always those who wish there were none, and more who expect them.

I do them, however, for the sake of communication. We say the same things in the newsletter, written in the announcement page, online in a weekly eNews, and again, aloud on Sunday, pointing to them in the bulletin, a tear-off page that has the prayers of the people on the reverse.

We still hear that people didn't know about such and such an event or thing.

And in the end, it still about the community gathering that one hour and a quarter every week. And our announcements are indeed at the end of the service, after the post-communion prayer, before the blessing and the closing hymn.

For us it is community building - we do a few notes, birthdays and anniversaries just after the Peace. It is already chaotic so the announcements get people ready for the "2nd half" ---No reading of the bulletin calendar though. The presider does most of the talking. But it is also a time for people to say thanks or special prayers (no one abuses it). We are a small community of about 50 worshipers and people come from 25 miles either direction - Maybe we are just more casual and fuzzy than most.

Before we begin I have new people and visitors introduce themselves - then we have a few moments of silence.

When I came we were having them after the blessing -- that was jarring to me.

If - if - the announcements are made as the "necessary business" of the organization, then yes, they can be an intrusion. But if they are made as the offering up of the concerns and hopes of the community for the coming week, and so brought forward to the altar at communion... if at least some of the people who frequently give announcements learn how to weave a bit of theological reflections into them, a bit of personal story of encountering Christ in/through whatever they are talking about... then yes, your announcement time will get longer. But instead of thinking of them as interruptions, people will look forward to this as time to see God at work in and through the congregation, and as integral to the congregation's worship.

Just to be clear, I believe we should have announcements and prayers for birthdays and anniversaries. I just don't care for them in the middle of the service.

June Butler

Actually isn't the Bible full of announcements.

That whole burning bush thing was kind of impressive.

Just to follow June's suggestion, the announcements don't have to be in the middle, where they disrupt the flow from offering peace to offering gifts. BCP 407 allows them to be at the beginning or the end. Announcements about what we are to do in the liturgy (e.g., rehearsal of psalm refrain) go better at the beginning. Announcements about what we are to do in carrying out God's mission go better at the end. Most other announcements are superfluous and can be omitted.

People are mentally out the door at the end. I agree - liturgical directions and welcome need to be in the beginning. Since the Peace is mostly a chaotic moment - following that with announcements settles everyone down for the rest of the liturgy (not re-reading the printed info though or allowing someone to go on and on). I think birthdays, anniversaries, and other things for the building up of the community need to be part of the offerings. We then gather them all together into the Eucharist. At the end - Bless and Dismiss. (although some say a closing blessing is superfluous as the Eucharist is a blessing)

As an auditory learner, I appreciate hearing about the life of our community as part of the liturgy. Liturgy is indeed the "work of the people." Is liturgy--corporate worship-- ever about a private moment between me and God?

Our current practice at St. John the Evangelist in San Francisco is that the priest offers welcome and explains how the Eucharist will follow after the peace; announcements such as community events and concerns follow the post communion prayer, done as briefly as possible by a member of the vestry. After all, we are being sent forth to do the work ...

This is the least disruptive arrangement I've seen. I think we do need announcements -- many people don't read or are deluged by online and paper communication so we need the aural reminders too.

Jan Adams

If the blessing after communion is redundant, announcements after communion are anti-climatic. There is no provision for inserting them (or a hymn) before the dismissal after which they are even more anti-climatic.

Announcements of births, deaths, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., are best made before the prayers of the people as preparation for the prayers. Other announcements tuck in nicely after the peace. Things in the bulletin need not be announced.

When all is said and done, a lot depends on the size of the worshipping community. Smaller communities can be more casual than large ones without losing a sense of reverence.

Announcements remind me that we are also "Community." I have been to church services where announcements follow the "peace," occur after the closing prayer, and prior to the beginning of the service. I don't have a preference, but I think they have an important place in the life of the community.

I like having the annoucements at the end as it is less disruptive to the flow of the service, and it is helpful if the priest or deacon makes them. If the clergy make any announcements as all those announcements tend to carry more weight, so it is bettter if they make all of them.

I find this hilarious because Adam and I went to high school together and played on the same football team.

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