When you arrive, an usher will hand you a bulletin outlining the order of worship. Feel free to sit anywhere you’d like. Worship begins with the ringing of the bell followed by a processional hymn that you will find in the blue hymnal. We then pray together asking God to prepare our hearts and minds for worship.
Liturgy of the Word
After gathering our hearts for worship, we then listen to God’s story throughout the ages. We call it the Liturgy of the Word. It includes readings from the Old Testament, the book of Psalms, letters of the New Testament, and one of the four Gospels. We stand during the reading of the Gospel and the minister and acolytes process down the aisle to symbolize Jesus’ ministry of being among the people. When the reading of the Gospel is announced, you may find people making the sign of the cross in a 3-fold manner on their head, their lips, and their chests, asking to God to bless our mind, our lips, and our hearts with the goodness of God’s story throughout the ages. Following the reading of the Gospel, we hear a sermon inviting us to reflect on the Scripture lessons. Next, we respond to what we have heard by affirming our faith in the historic Nicene Creed, which has served as the foundation for Christian belief since the 4th century. We then offer prayers for the world, one another, and ourselves, and a corporate confession of our failures to love and serve God, one another, and ourselves. After our confession, the priest proclaims God’s forgiveness of our sins, to which we respond by sharing the peace of God with another by shaking hands. You are welcome to participate but we understand that you may prefer sitting down. After the Peace, we share some announcements and pray for those celebrating a birthday or anniversary in the coming week.
The Liturgy of the Table
We begin the liturgy of the table by offering the fruits of our labor to God with the offering. While we are deeply grateful for any offering, it is not expected nor required of guests.
We continue with the Eucharistic Prayer (Eucharist is ancient Greek word meaning thanksgiving). During this prayer, we sing a short song of praise called the Sanctus and then retell the story of creation, our turning away from God, the work of the prophets, God’s coming to us in the form of Jesus, and Jesus’ Last Supper. You may hear a bell run when the bread and wine are lifted. This is to call our attention to the sacred gift and presence of Christ among us. After the priest blesses the bread and wine we join in saying the Lord’s Prayer. The priest then breaks the bread to symbolize Christ’s body broken for us.
All baptized Christians of any denomination are invited to receive Holy Communion. We also welcome those who seek to know God as revealed to us in Jesus. We encourage those who are not baptized but want to receive communion to speak with the priest about being baptized. Baptism is formal initiation into the Body of Christ (which includes the living and the dead). In baptism we are washed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and made heirs to his promise of unending life and purpose. The service ends with a blessing from the priest followed by a hymn that sends us out to be the hands and feet of Christ.