|By Michael Wacht
ORLANDO The hot Florida sun is at its brightest when the occupants of
downtown Orlando office towers head into the streets looking for lunch or a midday break.
Most find traffic, long lines and noise. A few have discovered a time of quiet meditation
inside downtowns First United
Each Wednesday at noon, the church holds a midweek worship service for downtown business
people. Between 15 and 40 gather in the sanctuary for a half-hour service that includes
prayer, meditation and a brief message, said the Rev. E. Wayne Curry, the churchs
Its the pause that refreshes, he said. Its a pause for quiet
time in the midst of a busy day.
The Rev. Jack Jackson, the churchs associate pastor, said the worship committee
designed the midweek service as a way to reach out to and serve the downtown community.
The people who planned it found there was no need for a big, boisterous praise
service, he said. There is more need for a quiet, contemplative, meditative
In addition to quiet time, the service includes elements of both traditional and
contemporary worship. The hymns are played only on the piano or organ, the congregation
reads from the Psalter and prays the Lords Prayer, and communion is offered once per
month. The pastoral message, however, does not start with the typical Bible reading.
Traditionally, we use a reading from a book that were reading, said
Jackson, who alternates leading worship with Curry. We follow that with a brief
discussion or commentary on what weve read.
After the service, the church offers a fellowship lunch. For $3 participants receive a hot
boxed lunch they may eat at the church or take back to the office.
Ronald Wilson works at Orlando City Hall and attends the service with his wife, Veronica.
He said the worship time helps strengthen their relationship. This is a recharge of
our batteries. The service gives us the opportunity to become more harmonious with each
other, he said.
Wilson, who is not a United Methodist, said he discovered the service when he was assigned
to park in a new parking lot. Passing by the church on his way to work, he saw signs in
front of the sanctuary advertising the service. Now, he said he often switches lunch times
with co-workers so he can attend.
Curry said the church is very intentional in not putting any requirements on people who
attend the midweek service. No offering is collected, and attendees are not obligated to
join the church.
Finding effective ways to promote the service is still one of the worship committees
challenges, Curry said, explaining that many companies prohibit religious advertisements.
What is the best way to get the word out when you cant put brochures or
bulletins in these places of business? he said.
Word of mouth advertising and signs in front of the sanctuary have been the two most
effective means of spreading the word, Jackson said. The church has also placed ads in fax
broadcasts sent to many downtown businesses.
The benefits have been intangible, said Jackson. The value is that
were reaching out to people beyond ourselves.
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© 1998 Florida United Methodist Review Online