First Church of Christ, Congregational, United Church of Christ
How we Worship
Our worship service on Sunday mornings follows the Reformed tradition of focusing on the proclamation of the Word.
We begin worship with the prelude after the morning's welcome and announcements. This musical introduction, usually organ music but sometimes piano, handbells, or instrumental ensemble, is a time when we set aside the cares of the day and the week to center our hearts and minds on God.
Call to Worship
The Introit and Call to Worship follow. The Introit, a choral piece offered by our Chancel Choir (September-June) or on occasion by a soloist or vocal ensemble (summer and choir "vacation" days) calls us to attend to God's presence in the Sanctuary. The Call to Worship is usually based on a Psalm and provides us with our first opportunity to breathe together as the congregation participates in unison reading.Our worship service on Sunday mornings follows the Reformed tradition of focusing on the proclamation of the Word.
The first hymn follows, accompanied on the organ most of the time. Sometimes, when the hymn style warrants, we may hear guitar and/or piano, as well; if there are instrumentalists, they may also accompany the hymns. We breathe together whenever we sing.
The Time with Young Disciples offers a young person's eye-view of the sermon text in the summer and a preview of the Sunday School lesson from September-June. In the summer, there is a follow-up packet available for caregivers and children to use for reinforcement. When Sunday School is in session, the children depart the Sanctuary for class after a prayer.
The Offertory has four parts: the Call to Give, the Collection of the Offering and Offertory Music, the Doxology, and the Blessing of the Offering. The Call to Give usually relates the theme of the day's lesson and sermon to the work of the church that monetary gifts empower. As the ushers pass the plates to collect those gifts, the choral anthem, vocal or instrumental ensemble piece, or solo connects us to the music of the heavens. During the Doxology (Praise to God!), the collection is brought forward to be blessed in prayer.
Joys & Concerns
Following the Offertory, our community shares joys and concerns together for prayer. This is open to all who are gathered as a time to ask for healing, wisdom, and hope as well as to celebrate answered prayers and momentous occasions and accomplishments. The Pastoral Prayer lifts these and the concerns of the world to God. When the Choir is present, there is a prayer response.
The Scripture lesson follows. This is read by a congregation member so that all may hear. Bibles are provided in the pews for those who wish to read along with the Word proclaimed. The hymn following the reading reflects the theme or may quote the passage directly and once again allows us to breathe together.
The Sermon sets the Scripture lesson in context and makes connections to our lives today. Often, the Pastor will invite action for the week related to the main points of the passage.
On the first Sunday of the month, we celebrate the Sacrament of Communion. Our table is open, as it is God's Table for all of God's children. Our tradition is to offer both regular and gluten free bread and to serve grape juice so that all may participate.
The closing hymn, Benediction, and Benediction Response "wrap up" the active participation of the congregation in our worship service as the threads come together to help us take Christ into the world.
The Postlude is a musical offering that allows for quiet contemplation of all that has unfolded before worshipers leave the Sanctuary for Coffee Hour and activities of the day.