What to Expect
In the United Church of Christ we take the Bible seriously, not literally. On Sundays we typically read one to two scripture passages. Sometimes these are chosen from the Revised Common Lectionary, a three-year cycle of assigned readings from all the books of the Bible. Other times they are chosen by the pastor as a part of a sermon series. And at other times, our readings are chosen to reflect a particular topic or situation in life or in the world.
Sermons are prepared prayerfully, taking the Biblical text seriously but not literally, while listening for what God is saying to us today. The pastor often puts the Biblical text into conversation with a contemporary reading or story and tries to find meaningful illustrations in life experiences, current events, and popular books and movies. Sermons are understood as just one part of an ongoing conversation about faith, spirituality, and what it means to follow in the ways of Christ in our world today.
Every worship service includes time for prayer – both spoken and silent. Near the beginning of the service an Invocation or Opening Prayer is said, inviting a deeper awareness of God’s presence among us. In the spirit of a Prayer of Confession, a Prayer for Transformation is said every Sunday in which we reflect on where we are at in life and faith and where it is we are being called to go. A time of silent prayer is held before the reading of scripture in which everyone is invited to silently open their hearts, minds, and spirits to God. A Pastoral Prayer or Prayers of the People is also offered during the service.
The Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion) is celebrated the first Sunday of every month and on special Sundays such as Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. We practice an open table at Faith UCC, meaning that just as Jesus welcomed all people to his table, so we do the same. All people are welcome to share in this sacrament of remembrance and holy presence at Faith UCC.
We generally sing hymns from The New Century Hymnal, published by our denomination in 1995. It includes old favorites like “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You” and “Amazing Grace” as well as more contemporary songs like “In the Bulb There Is a Flower” and “Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ.” Faith UCC has both a pipe organ and a baby grand piano in the sanctuary. Both instruments are used on a regular basis. Some hymns beg to have organ accompaniment; others are meant to be accompanied by piano and maybe a guitar and drums. Every once in awhile there is a piano/organ duet played for the prelude, offertory, or postlude. Our adult choir is a mainstay from Labor Day to Memorial Day, and our hand bell choir plays in Sunday worship approximately once a month between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Once a month during the school year, our youth choir shares their talents. They either sing songs or they play the Kristal Bells (color coded children’s hand bells). Music has always been highly valued at Faith UCC. Come join us one Sunday and help us raise a joyful noise!