WHITEHALL – The music and the environment may be more contemporary, but the Gospel message will stay the same when White Lake United Methodist Church kicks off its new Praise Band Service this Sunday (Sept. 22) at the church’s Praise Center, 117 S. Division Street.
“We’re offering people a second choice,” Pastor Mike Reigler said about the new style service.
The church, which includes the former congregations of Montague United Methodist Church and Whitehall United Methodist Church which merged July 1, 2017, still offers the traditional liturgical service at the Montague campus, 8555 Cook Street. The music at the 9 a.m. service includes hymns accompanied by organ and piano.
But, the new 11 a.m. service will have a Praise Band with vocalists, drums and guitars.
The Praise Center, according to Pastor Reigler, is in the former sanctuary which includes stained glass windows. “It’s a beautiful room. It’s a sacred space.”
To provide a more contemporary environment, the pastor said the choir loft has been removed and replaced with a space for the Praise Band. Audio-visual equipment has been added, and high-topped tables and chairs have been added to the church’s narthex where people can sit, drink coffee and take in the service.
Director of Music Gwenneth Bean is in charge of providing music for both services.
“The contemporary setting makes the service more personal and relatable,” Pastor Reigler said.
However, Pastor Reigler said he will not compromise the Biblical and Gospel message during the contemporary service.
He said his style may change, but not the message. “I will not water down the message.”
In the traditional service, the pastor wears a robe and stole, while at the Praise Service he will discard them. “I won’t be wearing jeans,” he added.
In both the traditional and contemporary services the congregation members often dresses more casually.
While there will be differing styles of worship on Sunday mornings, the church will offer all its programs, such as youth and children’s services as one.
“We are one church,” Pastor Reigler emphasized.
The new Praise Service has been advertised through social media, a mailing to 4,500 homes in the area and a banner in front of the church.