Worshipping in the park with the community has become the norm for members of First United Methodist Church in Pierre, South Dakota. Each Sunday, Griffin Park fills up with 200-250 people for worship including members of First UMC, First Baptist Church of Pierre, and First Congregational UCC in Pierre.
It all started when a team from five churches in the Pierre community got together to plan one joint, outdoor worship service. The five congregations, First UMC, First Baptist, First Congregational, Southeast Pierre UMC, and Oahe Presbterian, joined together for an ecumenical worship service on June 28.
"People were enthusistic and really enjoyed the opportunity to be in worship with others," says Rev. Greg Kroger, who serves First UMC in Pierre. "It went so well some of us thought we would continue the effort."
Each week one church takes the lead planning the worship, preparing everything that is needed, and including the other congregations. First UMC provides the technology for sound, projection, and livestreaming. All three churches broadcast the service on their Facebook pages.
"We call it One Hope," says Kroger. "Everyone is welcome. We are inclusive of all faith beliefs and anyone in the community. We are also working together to try to meet some of our community needs, like serving the food pantry."
Communion is served on selected Sundays using pre-packaged elements or you can bring your own elements from home. Viewers of the livestream can stop by First UMC, during the week to pick up the pre-packaged communion elements to partake in, as part of viewing the service online.
For the remainder of the summer, each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. worship will continue to be offered in the park for the three congregations and anyone who would like to join.
View a service here.