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Nursery, for Twos, Toddlers, and Infants, and Children’s Church, for First Graders, Kindergartners, and Five, Four, and Three year olds, provided.
The 11:00 worship service in the sanctuary follows reformed worship practices. Our worship challenges the congregation to actively participate and not rely on pastors and choir to provide a spiritual experience. For visitors or new members, however, the “script” of worship, the bulletin, can seem confusing. Below is a brief explanation of the purpose of each portion of our worship to help all who join us to be prepared to enter into God’s presence.
The Order of Worship
Even with a bulletin, following the order of worship can be difficult. Each part, however, is designed to help worshippers commune with God.
Call to Worship
The call to worship is normally a responsive opening to the service, where a leader, normally one of the pastors, calls the members of God’s community to prepare to worship the living God.
Hymn of Praise
The hymn of praise comes first in the service, reminding worshippers of their greatest calling, to glorify God. No matter what trials life possesses, we know that God is always with us, and we praise God for that.
Prayer of Confession
Even though we praise God for God’s amazing power and love, we know that we fall short of the glory of God and must confess our sins. We do this through the communal prayer of confession. The reason we read together is that we must recognize that we all sin and we all need God’s grace and forgiveness.
Assurance of Pardon and Response
After the confession, we are assured by the pastor that nothing we do in life can separate us from the love of Christ, for Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. Those who profess their belief in Jesus Christ are forgiven. In response to this, the congregation sings “Glory be to God.”
Passing of the Peace
As forgiven people, we then greet our neighbors with the “Peace of Christ.”
Proclamation of the Word
The first scripture passage, normally from the Old Testament, is read by a member of the congregation. Since, as members of the reformed church, we proclaim that all people are ministers, they should all be allowed to publicly read the Word of God.
Special Time with Children
After the scripture reading, one of the ministers shares a message with the children, generally First grade, Kindergarten, Four year olds, and Three year olds, on the steps before dismissing them to Children’s Church. Second graders and older children worship with the congregation in “Big Church”. This part of the service reminds us of the importance of children to our congregation and reminds us that we promised at baptism to raise them in the faith.
Usually an anthem follows the children’s time, displaying how the Holy Spirit moves not only through the reading of the word but through the singing about it as well. The New Testament lesson,then, is read by the pastor.
The sermon, also part of the proclamation of the Word, follows the second scripture reading. It is said that the best sermons “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
Following the sermon, the congregation joins together in an affirmation of what they believe, often using creeds of the Presybterian Church. They then join together in a song of response.
The church then joins together in a time of prayer. This includes prayers for upcoming church events, members who are ill, missions around the world, and all God’s children wherever they are. This culminates in the people saying the Lord’s Prayer aloud, the prayer our Lord Jesus taught his disciples to pray.
After the prayers, the members take time to note their presence in worship by signing the friendship pad. This is also used to show changes in personal information and to convey prayer requests. That is followed by the offering ritual. This task, while practical, is also a spiritual experience. Through the giving of our money, we also may remember that we dedicate our time and our gifts to the Lord as well.
This is followed by the Doxology, which praises God for the gifts God gives us. The congregation then joins in one final hymn.
After the hymn, the ministers give a charge to the congregation to take what they have heard and learned out into a broken and fearful world. They also offer a benediction, asking that God’s peace be with all of the people present as they go out to work for Christ in the world.
Thank you for exploring Presbyterian worship with us, and we look forward to you joining our community of faith whether in a single visit for for a lifetime of discipleship!