The Rev. Tom Sorenson host a night worship workshop Sunday night at The First Congregational Church of Maltby near Snohomish near September 24, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The Rev. Tom Sorenson host a night worship workshop Sunday night at The First Congregational Church of Maltby near Snohomish near September 24, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Church takes a quiet, contemplative approach to worship

Alternative services at First Congregational Church of Maltby offer “a good deal of silence.”

MALTBY — A traditional church is offering something new this year.

Contemporary hymns don’t go over so well at the First Congregational Church of Maltby, the Rev. Tom Sorenson said. Folks like their Sunday service to be based on ancient forms of worship, he said. They hear scripture and preaching, they share in prayer and at times they take communion.

“Those traditional Christian worship services speak to and feed many people,” he said, “but not everyone and frankly not as many as they used to.”

He’s started what he calls a quiet, contemplative service. A group of people sit in a circle. There is less small talk.

“It actually consists of a good deal of silence and a little bit of music and prayer,” Sorenson said.

The idea was inspired in part by the book “Christianity for the Rest of Us” by Diana Butler Bass, which was read recently by several church members, he said.

The alternative services will run through Christmas. The first, on Sept. 24, drew nine parishioners. Among them was Claudia Augustine, 43. She lives in the Silver Firs area outside of Everett. Her family chose First Congregational because it was beautiful, yet old-fashioned, in a way that made them comfortable, she said.

At the Sept. 24 service, there was a focus on being together during a time of worship, without the entertainment aspects of some church activities, Augustine said.

“What we really enjoyed was the circle feel,” she said. “We were all sitting face-to-face, equal and level with each other. Communion was served from one friend to the next.”

She was given communion by her daughter, Nina, 13.

“It was something new and very special,” she said.

Sorenson even asks that attendees leave quietly. He hopes they keep the experience in their thoughts as they go.

“This offers a different way into the spirituality and the fundamental truths of the Christian faith tradition,” he said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449;; Twitter: @rikkiking.

Alternative worship services at the First Congregational Church of Maltby are set for Oct. 15, Oct. 22, Nov. 5, Nov. 19, Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17, concluding with a Christmas Eve service on Dec. 24. The services are at 7 p.m. at 21111 86th Ave SE, Snohomish. All are welcome, but the quiet focus might not suit young children. More info: 360-668-3921.

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