Our first worship gathering is at 8:15 AM (Celebration of Word & Table) and lasts about 45-50 minutes. This is a reflective service with readings & responses drawing from the more ancient and traditional ways of the Church. All are welcome, but young children who can’t yet read might find themselves bored. The second worship gathering is at 10:30 AM (Community Worship) and lasts about 60-75 minutes. Both gatherings culminate at the Table of the Lord for Holy Communion (Eucharist), at which everyone is invited to participate according to their own desire to respond to Christ’s invitation.
First off, please do not fret about the sounds or movements that children may make. While we each will do our best to be attentive to the variety of needs in children of different ages, no one needs to feel embarrassed because of a crying infant or antsy toddler. God put the wiggle in children and Jesus was pretty clear about not barring them from him.
We encourage families to sit together during the worship service. We hope that by continually bringing children to worship and intentionally training them in the things of worship, they will find Christ in what we do, and be able to worship as well. Parents of infants are welcome to use the room located at the back of the sanctuary where there are chairs and a changing table. During the 10:30 Community Worship gathering, there is often a short children’s moment near the beginning of the service at the front. Young children are able to go downstairs after the music portion where CORI-approved individuals will oversee them in the children’s play space.
Usually about halfway through our worship gathering, we invite people to pray at the kneelers up front. While the pastor or another individual might lead this prayer out loud, all are invited to pray in their hearts, presenting our joys and praises as well as our concerns and requests to God. This prayer often follows the format of The Lord’s Prayer. Our Sanctuary Prayer Book is at the back of the sanctuary on the table. Please feel free to write short requests in it that will be prayed for during the service.
We are told a variety of things by bosses, co-workers, family, friends, neighbors, and strangers each week. While we’d hope that the words we hear are of love and grace, the fact is that we are often the recipients of grace-less words. It is our hope that by offering one another the “Peace of Christ” each week, this would be at least one place where words spoken to one another are indeed of love and grace. So saying (and meaning!) the words “Peace of Christ” to each other serves as a participatory reminder that the peaceful reign of Christ is our hope, despite what others may say.
If you would like to worship through the giving of a tithe or offering, you may place them in one of the four boxes located on the walls near the corners of the sanctuary as you come in, during the music, after you’ve received communion, or as you leave. Your offerings might be other than financial: praises, concerns, confessions, or anything else you would write down and offer to the Lord. Many also give their offering online:
At her best, the Church is the Church 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our presence in the world does not end within the walls of the sanctuary. When we remember this, the time of worship becomes a gathering of the Church.
In an attempt to remind ourselves of this, we practice the collect and benediction each week in our worship gatherings. When we come together at the appointed time, we are gathering from a variety of circumstances and places into a place set aside for worship. So we are collected-gathered into one: one place, one time, one heart and mind in worship as the Body of Christ. Then as we leave, a “benediction” serves as a blessing and sending back into the world. We’ve come, we’ve heard, we’ve tasted, and now we are sent forth back into the world to live as the Church wherever God has placed us. Our benediction happens each week through the final song and a blessing by the pastor.
You’ve likely noticed that there are many aspects to our sanctuary. No human-made thing is in and of itself sacred, yet each of these symbols serves as a reminder of, and points to something we hold dear. The three central candles remind us that God is Triune, with the center candle as the very presence of Christ by his Holy Spirit. Other various symbols that you see in the sanctuary also likely point to Christ or the Trinity. The cross serves as a reminder of Jesus Christ’s death for us, yet it is empty as a reminder that he is now alive. The various colors of the paraments (cloths) on the pulpit and lectern change with the seasons of the Church year.