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.

  • Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

    There is a beautiful piece of seasonal writing attributed to the theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman that you may have encountered in Christmases past. It’s entitled, “Now the Work of Christmas Begins.” Take in these words from the author:

    When the song of the angels is stilled,

    when the star in the sky is gone,

    when the kings and princes are home,

    when the shepherds are back with their flocks,

    the work of Christmas begins:

    to find the lost,

    to heal the broken,

    to feed the hungry,

    to release the prisoner,

    to rebuild the nations,

    to bring peace among the people,

    to make music in the heart.

    Indeed, this is the real work of Christmas. This is the work we discover in faith when we follow the light of Christ, which the darkness has not and will not overcome. In last Sunday’s Scripture passage, Luke records that Mary and Joseph were amazed at what was said about Jesus when they encountered Simeon in the temple in Jerusalem. On account of the angel Gabriel’s visit, Mary knew in the beginning that the child she would bear would be holy, but I wonder if she knew that this would be the character of His holy work? What a proud mother she must have been. What a nervous mother she must have been, watching her Son challenge the status quo as He lived in obedient faith to God, gently shepherding God’s people! Yes, this holy child will lead us – the Church – in finding, healing, feeding, releasing, rebuilding, and bringing peace. His story is ours to discover anew in the pages of the Gospel, the pages we will turn together in worship in the months to come. 

    Although the real work of Christmas is ours to offer another, let us also take to heart that it is also ours to receive as blessing and gift. At times we are lost, feeling broken, or living and praying for peace of mind or spirit. At times we sense that our lives are in need of rebuilding. As the great Henri Nouwen has observed, our own wounds may serve as a source of strength and healing in our own work of serving.

    My heart is full this holiday season. As may be true for you, I am holding joy and sorrow in the same chamber. I rejoice in what I hold dear, in the embrace of my loved ones in the home, and in the privilege of worshiping with you through a variety of experiences this December. I grieve with families who lost loved ones to Covid or other causes in 2020, and most recently, Pastor Derek’s family. I find joy in new traditions and customs that this holiday season has inspired. I long for loved ones who are no longer with us and who I remember especially at Christmas. My faith is wide enough to embrace these differing realities, to hold joy and sorrow in tandem. I pray yours is, too. 

    In faith, we will find, heal, feed, and rebuild, because Christ has first found us and embraced us with His healing presence. He feeds us with His Word and at table, in our hunger for bread that nourishes and lasts. In the grateful words of Martin Luther, “to you Christ is born. For this purpose Christ willed to be born, that through him we might be born anew. Christ must above all things become our own and we become his. See to it that you make this birth your own and that Christ be born in you.”

    Dear friends, Christ is born in us, and His love will guide and equip our ministry together in 2021. Pastor Derek and I look forward with anticipation to a new year of ministry with you. Let us follow the light of Christ together!  With joy, Pastor Meg

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