What follows is based on a typical Sunday morning service. The format sometimes varies.
This is the first movement of the service, as we attend to creation and the Creator.
GATHERING MUSIC: Our musician plays music while we gather and greet one another. You are welcome to put on a name tag and find a seat. The service starts at 10:30.
WORDS OF WELCOME: The worship leader gathers and welcomes us with the words: “Be aware of God’s presence within and all around; and let us prepare our hearts and our minds to worship God.”
PRELUDE: This is a time of quiet reflection, whether the music is meditative or majestic.
LIGHTING OF THE COMMUNITY CANDLE: We light a candle to remind us that God’s light is present with us when we gather in community. At the conclusion of the service we take that light forth into the world.
CALL TO WORSHIP: This responsive liturgy seeks to focus our attention on why we are gathered together for worship and express our intentions to grow in our spiritual awareness and maturity.
*HYMN/SONG: Our singing consists of a mixture of well-known hymns and more contemporary songs.
This second movement of the service is a time to reflect on our lives and our world as we seek God’s comfort, healing, and renewal.
PRAYER OF RECONCILIATION: It is usually a prayer we say together; we seek to be honest with God and ourselves in taking responsibility for our shortcomings, lamenting suffering in the world, and seeking fresh paths in working to set things right again. We can confess our wrongdoings with confidence, knowing that God freely pours out forgiveness and mercy upon those who open their hearts.
SUNG RESPONSE: After a moment of silent reflection, we typically pray these sung words:
Take, o take me as I am / Summon out what I shall be
Set your seal upon my hear and live in me
DECLARATION OF GOD’S LOVE AND FORGIVENESS: Usually spoken by the pastor, this affirmation is expressed not as a timid hope but as a bold declaration of God’s forgiving love.
PASSING THE PEACE: This is an ancient custom in the Christian tradition, and perhaps our favorite part of the service at Family of Christ. We extend signs of peace to one another through greetings, handshakes, and hugs.
In this third movement of worship we’re encouraged to listen for the prompting of the Spirit in Scripture, read and interpreted.
READINGS FROM OUR STORIES OF FAITH: Usually read by the worship leader, the reading is one or more passages from the Bible.
SERMON: Preaching is a central part of sharing the Christian faith. It is not an attempt to convince or force anyone into believing something, it is sharing the rich spiritual tradition and wisdom of Jesus with each other. Christianity is a communal faith – we go beyond our own personal practice and come together to be challenged, enlightened and to deeply question our beliefs. Sermons at Family of Christ will include Scripture, contemporary storytelling, the latest thinking in philosophy and psychology, social justice themes, current issues, myth and personal honesty.
A MOMENT OF SILENT REFLECTION: A time to personally reflect, meditate, and pray.
This is the final movement of the service, as we celebrate our connectedness and look outward to serving the wider community.
PRAYERS OF JOY & CONCERN & THE LORD’S PRAYER: Usually the pastor begins in prayer, then invites the people to say prayers aloud, using the microphone. Each prayer may conclude, “Hear our prayer, O Lord.” The pastor again prays aloud; we end with the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven: hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come; thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom, and the power,
And the glory, forever. Amen.
FOCUS ON MISSION: Highlighting work in mission, in this community or at a distance, that is supported by our financial giving to local or denominational causes, by the time and energy of folks in the congregation, or in some other way is connected to this church.
THE OFFERING: This is far more than a collection to operate the church. It is an act of worship – a way to express gratitude to God and to support ministries near and far. The musician presents offertory music while we pass the offering plates; we sing a hymn and conclude the offering with a prayer.
COMMUNION: We celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of each month. All who seek to follow more closely in Christ’s way of love, justice, and peace are welcome to share in the meal. We are fed tasty bread from a common loaf and nourished with grape juice that we enjoy in pottery cups made by one of our members. We often celebrate communion bilingually as an act of welcoming hospitality. Presbyterians believe that Christ is truly present in the Lord’s Supper as we remember his life, death, and resurrection. Don’t worry if something gets spilled. We’re family!
INVITATIONS FOR DISCIPLESHIP: A time to announce happenings in the church’s life and ministry and invite participation.
BIRTHDAYS and ANNIVERSARIES: It’s our custom to acknowledge special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, or other milestones) in the lives of our congregation. A few years ago people began dropping a penny a year (or perhaps a bit more) into the birthday bank (which is a small replica of a church), and since then the money has been used to support the Church Building Fund. The congregation responds by singing “Happy Birthday” – and for the line when you’d usually sing the person’s name, we sing “Happy birthday, God bless you; Happy birthday to you.”
*HYMN/SONG: We conclude the service with congregational singing.
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION: The preacher sends the congregation out into the world with encouragement and blessing.
POSTLUDE: We are invited to remain seated, in an attitude of worship, while the musician plays. Sometimes folks want to applaud after the postlude; that’s okay, but you may prefer to say “Amen” or “Alleluia!” – or to remain silent.