Worship

Visitors always welcome! And now easier to access with east-side elevator!

9:00 a.m. Informal Worship Service in Bruner Hall

FPC’s early morning service is more informal in nature. With a focus on singing contemporary worship songs (with occasional “classics” thrown in), the emphasis is on simply enjoying God’s (and each others!) presence. We pray for each other, and reflect on God’s Word for us today in Scripture and a message. For the most part, the message is the same in the first and traditional worship services. From time to time, we offer prayer for healing with the laying on of hands (along with anointing with oil), we light candles for peace, and celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of every month by “intinction” (the congregation is invited to come forward, break off a piece of bread from a larger loaf, dip it in the cup of grape juice, and receive God’s grace and love). The congregation is encouraged to come in casual, comfortable attire to worship and praise the Lord. The service begins with congregational singing of songs of praise. Members lead the singing, often with the support of a small contemporary band. Music is led piano, joined regularly by a larger praise band. Simple and participatory are the key words for this service.

11:00 a.m. Traditional Service in the Sanctuary

The traditional service is a bit more structured, though not formal. In this service, we focus on God’s Living Word (Jesus Christ) in the rhythms and practices of traditional Presbyterian worship. With liturgy, hymns, organ, piano, responsive and corporate prayers, children’s message, Scripture, and sermon, we gather in God’s presence and seek to grow in faith. Adding to the blessing of this service is music from the Chancel Choir, the Westminster Bell Choir, or other instrumentalists or soloists. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of every month in the traditional Presbyterian fashion (individual cups and pieces of bread are distributed to the congregation by elders and deacons of the church). You are welcome in jeans or something more formal, and you will find both in attendance. We hope that all who come are sent out healed, at peace, refreshed, challenged (whatever you need at the moment!), and empowered to live the coming week faithfully and abundantly.

During both Sunday worship services, a nursery is available for infants and pre-schoolers. During the Traditional Service, following the Children’s Sermon, “Junior Church” is available for those in Kindergarten through Elementary grades during the school year. The Lord’s Supper communion is served monthly, on the first Sunday.

  • Practice and Poise

    When I started practicing with the varsity football team at Valencia High School in southern California way back in the spring of 1990 our coach wanted us to learn one very important lesson.  Poise.  Coach Mike Marrujo (pronounced Ma-roo-hoe) wanted us sixteen and seventeen year olds to have poise—at all times.  Not only on the football field, but with everything we did in life.  It was an interesting lesson for us.  His primary immediate goal may have been to play the game as it should be played and to win football games (which he did quite a lot of over 35 years), but Coach Marrujo was an educator, and while I never asked him, I am certain his primary long-term goal was to shape young human beings who would amount to something in life and contribute to society.

    Coach Marrujo also taught us a little bit about football.  We were 11-2 that year (my junior year), but the following year we were 14-0 and won the California state championship (Southern section, mind you, as such a large state is divided into sections).  I think poise had a lot to do with it.  On the field we never panicked.  Ever.  We knew what to do and we did it.  When that didn’t work we found another way.  When I think back on that group of young guys, I find it quite remarkable that we were able to learn that.  What did we know as sixteen and seventeen year olds?  A whole lot of nothing, one might think.  But we were learning.  And among the things we were learning was poise.

    I have been thankful for Coach Marrujo ever since, along with the countless other educators who taught me something in life.  He finished his 35-year career with a record of 306-131-1.  I think he taught around a thousand young guys a thing or two about poise along the way.

    I am quite certain that I have failed to have that poise a few times in life (alright, maybe more than a few), but the lesson has served me well for 30 years now.  It reminds me of another lesson taught to Scouts around the country: Be Prepared.  And another that a seminary mentor of mine Dr. David Johnson taught us ministers-to-be: expect the unexpected.

    Now I don’t recall Jesus of Nazareth saying anything about poise, but when I reflect on his life, poise is one attribute that he must have possessed.  He carried himself with poise before of the Pharisees, when the people refused to listen to him or when the were unable to understand, and even when he was before Pontius Pilate.  Perhaps one could make the argument that when Jesus overturned the tables in the Temple he lacked poise, but I understand why he did that and only admire his intentions.  But for many decades now, my faith in Jesus Christ and my belief that God loves me and cares for me only reinforce my own feeling of poise. 

    I’ve been thinking about poise even more in the midst of this worldwide coronavirus outbreak.  So many things have changed, so many things are different.  What will the world be like in a few months?  In a few years?  But through all of this, poise serves me well.  Poise serves all of us well.  With those things we miss doing, the stresses of change, financial hardship, or family life.  Poise, remaining calm and collected, expecting the unexpected—all of these things serve us well.  And in turn they help us serve others well.  By serving others through our actions, and honoring and respecting others as fellow children of God.  Let’s see how we might be able to to use our own poise to make our world a better place.

    May the grace and peace—and poise—of Jesus Christ be with you.
    —Pastor Derek

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