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.

 

  • Lent is Upon Us

    Lent is also quickly approaching. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, on March 6th. Pastor Meg and I will be participating in an ecumenical worship service at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (along with St John’s Episcopal Church). I find it very refreshing to participate in these joint-worship services at various times throughout the year. It reminds us how we are all God’s children, and models the love and care of Jesus Christ.

    Ash Wednesday is where the Lenten journey begins. The scripture passages remind us about fasting and ashes, and we have an opportunity ‘receive’ ashes, as the sign of the cross is marked on our foreheads with ashes made from burned palm fronds from previous years. That mark of ashes reminds us that Lent isn’t just a 40-day exercise of giving up some joy in our life, but making time to ponder repentance. Lent is a time of journeying: on Ash Wednesday we read warnings about storing up false treasures, showing off our piety, doing harm to the marginalized in our world, and not living properly in community. The journey of repentance, however, reminds us that we travel toward the fullness of the Kingdom of God. It is in Jesus Christ that we find new life. I hope that you will join us for our Ash Wednesday service at Prince of Peace on March 6th.

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    Our congregation is about to undertake a large project together. Inside this edition of the Pulse you will find an article about our upcoming pledge campaign to see if we can purchase a new roof for Bruner Hall and solar panels for our electricity usage. I hope that you will understand, appreciate, and prayerfully support this project.

    At the same time, it is important for us to remember our general tithing to support the regular mission and ministry of our church. Yes, that s-word that some of you might embrace, and other might dread: stewardship! I recently read this from Walter Brueggemann, a renowned Old Testament scholar. “We live in a society that would like to bracket out money and possessions from ultimate questions. The Bible insists otherwise. It insists that the issues of ultimacy are questions about money and possessions. Biblical testimony invites a serious reconsideration of the ways in which our society engages or does not engage questions of money and possessions as carriers of social possibility.”

    What is Brueggemann saying here? It seems that if we only ask for our offerings to maintain the structure of our church, we are missing an opportunity for discipleship that allows us view money and possessions as a force for change in ourselves, our community, and the world. One idea that strikes me in particular is the misconception that stewardship and offerings are mainly about maintaining or sustaining ministry. A church budget, however, should not define the life of the church. A church budget ideally reflects what we value as children of God and where we place our trust. It is important that we don’t give to the church only from the leftovers after our needs are met first. Giving of our ‘first fruits’ honors our commitment to God, to one another, and to our community.

    We have a tendency in our culture to collect what we earn or what we possess, to take care of ourselves and family first, and celebrate the image of being self-made or self-sufficient. What might our lives, and our world, look like if we used our money and possessions as disruptive forces in the world, used to bend the arc of society toward one of justice and love for everyone in God’s kingdom?

    Have a wonderful and blessed month of March. Spring will soon be here—let us rejoice in the idea of new life!

    Pastor Derek

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