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The primary gathering event is our Sunday worship at 10 AM. Here are some things you can expect when you come to worship:
· Someone to greet you. This person will welcome you, offer you a bulletin, and show you how to get to the sanctuary, our place of worship.
· A traditional sanctuary and worship style usually led by our pastor, Rev. Frances, and a church member. The pieces that make up worship are common among many churches, such as:
· Organ music, prayers, Bible reading, a message about the Bible passage, and hymns. During prayer time, you will experience spoken prayer and silent prayer, during which anyone may offer a prayer for themselves, a loved one, or a situation in need of help and love.
· Typically the first Sunday of the month we celebrate the Sacrament of Communion, which is open to all people of all ages and backgrounds. Parents may choose to have their children receive Communion, or they may ask the pastor to offer a blessing.
· Speaking of children, children are always welcome in our sanctuary. There is a Children’s Moment early in the service when the pastor invites children up front for a brief chat and prayer. Parents are welcome to accompany their children. Afterward, children may return to their seat. Those up to Grade Two are welcome to the Nursery with a volunteer who has state clearances on record. From September-May, two Sundays a month, children are invited to Mission Church to work on a project for any number of non-profit organizations.
· On any given Sunday we may celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism, welcome new members, acknowledge one’s life event, and/or receive musical offerings from the Choir or Men’s Chorus or individual musicians.
· Afterward, all are invited to Fellowship Hall to join for coffee & snacks thanks to our awesome Kitchen Committee. Rev. Frances greets people following the service and is happy to meet you then.
· Joy – or at least the opportunity to experience it. We cannot guarantee it, but whether you come heavy-burdened or just curious, our prayer is that joy finds you at some point during your morning here.
A brief note on our theology, or how we understand God: we are a community organized around our faith in Jesus Christ, our “savior,” one who saves, based on his life, death and resurrection. We understand God as expressed in three persons: God, (Father, Holy One, Almighty); Jesus (savior, redeemer, son, brother, friend), and Holy Spirit (sustainer, comforter, inspiration, ruach or holy breath/wind).
To this end we read and create worship using Holy Scriptures, consisting of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, and the New Testament, all of which we refer to as “the Bible.” Common translations used are New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), the Common English Bible (CEB), and Eugene Peterson’s “The Message.”
The Bible, church tradition, our reasoning, and our experience of God showing up in our daily living form the basis of how we express our faith.
As a church of the denomination called The United Church of Christ, (click here for a link to our national website), we believe in a very big tent. That is, some of us lean toward more “evangelical or conservative” understandings of God, Jesus, the Bible, and how to express our faith. Others of us may lean toward more “progressive or liberal” understandings.
The UCC was formed in 1957 with Jesus’ fervent prayer echoing in the background. Shortly before his death Jesus prayed on behalf of his beloved disciples: “…that they may all be one.” (John 17:21 NRSV).
Another tenet of the UCC is that “In essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, in all things charity.” Essentially we believe Jesus Christ is the head of our church and will guide our steps; exactly what that looks or sounds like will be as unique as each individual is from one another.
Our worship centers us on the two great commandments Jesus taught when asked by others in the scriptures what is most important: to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. We welcome you, “with gladness and delight,” as Rev. Frances likes to say each Sunday, to join us!