When you arrive on a Sunday morning, you can expect to be greeted by an usher, given a worship bulletin (like a program), and shown to a pew. If you might want to utilize the nursery, an usher will help you find it as well.
Most worship services are organized in a five-fold pattern of Gathering, Preparing, Encountering, Responding, and Sending. You can expect congregational singing, responsive readings, special music offered by the choir, a soloist, or an instrumentalist, prayer, reading from scripture, probably a sermon, sharing of our celebrations and concerns, and an opportunity to make a monetary offering. Some weeks, the service includes the sacraments--baptism (as needed) and/or communion (at least monthly).
Communion, sometimes called the Eucharist (Greek for "Great Thanksgiving") or The Lord's Supper, is a time when we share bread and wine (we use unfermented grape juice, and we also offer gluten-free wafers), remembering Jesus' offering himself to us in tangible ways. In this ritual, called a sacrament because it connects us to the Holy, we believe we are joined with the "communion of saints"--all God's people past and present--and nurtured for life in the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. We believe that as the bread is broken, we are made whole, and as we partake of the feast, God re-makes us into the body of Christ, "loving, serving, and caring for the world."
Baptism is a sign of God's love for us and of our entrance into the community of faith. The symbol of water reminds us of Jesus' baptism, of the Spirit at creation, and of God's promise to lead us to streams of living water. The whole congregation makes promises to nurture those baptized in the life of faith--this is not a private affair, but a community-wide celebration. We baptize infants, who cannot yet ask for or respond to grace, signifying God's grace that washes over all of us before we understand. Older children or adults who have not been baptized before may also be baptized at the time they are confirmed or choose to join the church, as a sign of God's grace at work in their lives. The sacrament of baptism is administered only once in one's lifetime, and we recognize all other baptisms in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Throughout the year we have opportunities to remember our baptisms and to renew the vows made.
Most weeks, the service is put together by the Pastor, following the plans of the season team. If you have questions or comments about the worship service, please speak with the Pastor.
We strive to be creative in developing our services so all will feel spiritually renewed and refreshed as they go back into the world.
Recently we spent a morning practicing worship through service in our community rather than remaining in the sanctuary. Another week we expressed our praise through creating mosaic murals of the creation story to display in the sanctuary. We endeavor to develop worship experiences that utilize all our senses and thus reach each person in a way that is meaningful for them.