I am a member of a dispersed congregation. When we get together on Sundays, we’re anxious to catch up on everything that is happening. The downside of this is that our sanctuary is often a noisy place before the service, which distracts us from quieting ourselves before God.

We’ve started to use an audible tone to remind the congregation to come to silence a few minutes before the service starts. At first, we used a singing bowl from Ten Thousand Villages:

More recently, we’ve begun to use chimes. We have a number of these, and when I ring them I usually choose two to produce a chord in the key of the opening song (because that’s just the way I am). Typically, we ring them two or three times, roughly five seconds apart.

These have worked well. If we’re so inclined (as we were on Easter), we have multiple people ringing them and/or vary the number or frequency of the times that the chimes are played. Of course, the form isn’t the important thing. We just needed to find a gentle way to call people to worship.