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Our worship service has three major components:
First, we Gather in God’s name.
Then, we Hear God’s Word.
Finally, we offer our Response to God’s Word and Spirit.
We Gather in God’s Name / God Gathers The Church
The bell is rung 12 times at 10am to let everyone know it’s time to begin. This is followed by the music called the Prelude, as we prepare our hearts and minds for worship. The prelude is transitional space.
We come from noisy and turbulent lives and need to prepare our hearts and minds for worship at this time.
We start with Greetings and Announcements. Our pastor offers the Call to Worship to invite the congregation into our service and set the tone for our time together. The Call to Worship is often scripture, usually from the Psalms. God’s voice and our response gather us in communal worship with joy and gratitude.
We all join in a hymn to praise God, no singing expertise required! Music is a form of prayer.
As we sing hymns we engage in a theological task of speaking to, about, and for God.
Next, we do our communal Confession.
This incorporates timely issues or the themes of the week in our scriptures and sermon; it is written for call-and-response in the bulletin Confession is an essential part of the Reformed Tradition. We are all in need of God’s mercy and constantly invite God’s reforming Spirit into our lives.
Even as we confess, we are constantly reminded of God’s love and forgiveness— which is not earned but freely given by God. God is love—without conditions.
Confession is followed by the Words of Assurance. The pastor delivers the good news that we are forgiven.
This is followed by music. This may be the congregation singing of the traditional Gloria Patri (Glory to God), or other music depending on the time of year.
We hear God’s Word/God’s word is Proclaimed
The center of Reformed Worship is the Word of God. We listen to God’s Word as we seek to follow in the way of Jesus. We believe we encounter the Word in worship through the revelation of Jesus Christ, in scripture, and in preaching.
This portion of our service includes the lessons for the day and is delivered by the pastor and sometimes liturgist (liturgist is a member of the congregation that assists pastor during worship). We begin with the Message for Children of All ages. (described in detail in the Sunday Worship Experience here). We then pass the peace to one another during Christian Greeting, taking a moment to stand up and visit with one another. This is followed by the Prayer for Illumination, Scripture Lessons (readings), and Message (sermon).
We respond to God’s Word and Spirit
First we affirm our faith in reciting the Apostles Creed together.
The Reformed Tradition is a Confessional tradition in that we confess our sin but also our faith.
Using creeds, we proclaim the gospel in historic moments as God has revealed it to us.
Together we sing a Hymn of Response to the message we just received, usually highlighting some way that we can engage our faith and lives as inspired by God’s Word. This is followed by the reception of our gifts and offerings, which we conclude with the Doxology:
"Praise God from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise God above, ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen."
Doxo” means glory, and we sing praise to God in gratitude for God’s gifts to us, joining all creation in song.
We also have an Offering Prayer from the pastor. We respond to God’s grace and God’s Word by offering our lives, our energy, and our resources toward the work of God’s Kingdom.
Next, we do the Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer. We begin by asking for prayer requests from the congregation (pastor will be given the prayer cards with the offering). The pastor will offer a prayer that incorporates our joys and concerns, and we end that prayer by communally saying the Lord’s Prayer.
By now the service is nearly over, so we prepare to reenter the world and begin our week by singing the Hymn of Sending. The pastor then offers a Benediction (blessing), to send us on our way, followed by a Choral Benediction, which the congregation sings.
After the Choral Benediction our service is over; you may leave or remain for a few minutes to reflect and listen to the musical Postlude.
We end worship charged to carry the Word we have practiced today out into the world—to live what we have preached, confirmed by the blessing and grace of God’s presence. God is love; You are loved!
The Lord’s Supper, also called Communion or the Eucharist, is the family meal of Christians. The table is not ours, it belongs to God with Christ as our host. Therefore, all who seek Christ are invited to partake of both the bread and the cup filled with grape juice. During Communion Sundays (first Sunday of every month), we begin The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, after the offering. We have special bulletins that walk us through the Meaning of the Sacrament, Invitation to Communion, Prayer of Thanksgiving, and Communion. We end Communion with a second Prayer of Thanksgiving. All who are baptized, through any church or denomination, are invited to partake in the Lord’s Supper.