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.

  • A Season of Thanksgiving

    When I lived in Zimbabwe, I worked at City Presbyterian Church in downtown Harare (rhymes with Ferrari). I lived a few miles outside of the city but would drive into the city most days; unless I was traveling around the country visiting another church or a Presbyterian-run school. City Church, as it was called, was just a half-block away from Harare Gardens, the local city park. In addition to being a beautiful, if somewhat neglected, park, Harare Gardens was also the home to several unhoused people who had no family to turn to for help and few resources of their own. Some of these people, mostly young men but also children, would spend time outside the front gate of City Church. Here, they knew they could find some money or food when they were most hungry. They would earn a dollar by “guarding” the cars of anyone who parked on the street, ensuring that no one broke into or stole the cars.

    I got to know a number of these young men while I lived in Zimbabwe. One day I learned that some of them played on a soccer team (football in Zimbabwe). They played against other teams at a local park and dreamed one day of competing in the Homeless World Cup. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as the Homeless World Cup, but look it up; it’s for real. Only a few members of the team had proper soccer boots (secondhand cleats, which had been given to them after years of use by another owner). The rest of the team members played barefoot. Can you imagine organizing a soccer team when you’re homeless? This team has no funds and no equipment and is playing against local high schools or adult clubs. I bought these team members a few nice soccer balls so they could practice. Another day I brought my camera with me to work and took pictures of them playing in a game. I had some copies developed at a local store and gave the team some action shots of themselves. The pictures weren’t all that great, but they may have been the first ones they’d ever seen of themselves in action on the football pitch. 

    The Homeless World Cup is designed to bring attention to those around the world who are unhoused, with the vision of a world without homelessness. Their mission is to use football to support and inspire people who are unhoused to change their own lives and to change perceptions and attitudes towards people who are experiencing homelessness. I don’t imagine that those young men I knew back in 2011 and 2012 ever made it to the Homeless World Cup, but perhaps they did. The last Homeless World Cup tournament took place in Cardiff, Wales in 2019 (before Covid). A team from Mexico beat a team from Chile in the top-tier Level 1 finals, 5-1.

    It turns out that a team from Zimbabwe did miraculously make it to Cardiff to play in the Homeless World Cup, coming in 3rd place in the Level 3 Tournament. I wonder if any of those young men I knew wound up on this 2019 team. After all these years I don’t know what happened to those young men. Being homeless in a nation with little or no social safety net, I fear that they have perished from years of a rough life on the streets and no access to quality health care. But perhaps they’ve somehow survived the economic, social, and political turmoil associated with homelessness in Zimbabwe. If I can ever return to Zimbabwe, I hope to walk the streets around City Church and Harare Gardens and seek out any familiar faces. I know I would remember the faces and I believe they would remember me, as there hasn’t been a PC(USA) Mission Co-Worker in Zimbabwe since my departure. The stark reality is that if the faces aren’t familiar to me there will undoubtedly be new faces of those living on the streets and sleeping in the covered culverts of Harare Gardens.

    This season of Thanksgiving, you can be sure that the unhoused people of the world will be in my prayers, particularly those Zimbabweans living on the streets of Harare. May we too work toward a world without homelessness.

    Pastor Derek

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