Liturgy & Learning

What to Expect

Our morning worship service follows a set order of worship. A printed bulletin outlines the flow of the service, which includes, music, prayers, scripture reading, and sermon. In the Presbyterian tradition, our worship includes a prayer of confession, usually said aloud in unison by the congregation. We confess at the beginning of worship as a way of acknowledging God’s grace and restoring ourselves to right relationship with God. We understand sin to be more than actions we did or did not do that are somehow considered “wrong” but rather more as ways of living that are not aligned with God’s call and claim upon our lives. We believe that God loves us no matter what, and that confession helps us to reclaim that love as we begin worship. Following confession, we engage in the ancient practice of passing the peace of Christ by turning to those worshipping near us and saying “Peace be with you,” with the response, “And also with you.”

Ordained ministers in the Presbyterian Church (USA) are known as “Minister of Word and Sacrament.” Each week in worship, we hear scriptures, from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and/or the New Testament, read aloud and “proclaimed” – interpreted through a sermon. We believe the Holy Spirit works through this proclamation to touch the hearts and enlighten the minds of the hearers. This isn’t to say that sermons will always be entertaining or easy – they often challenge and engage us in the same way God does. Some pastors have described this as their calling to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”!

Each week in worship we have a time of offering, when we reflect on the generosity of God and seek to discern how we can respond to God’s generosity by giving of our time, talent, and treasure to the church. Some weeks, our ushers will pass offering plates and some people will put cash or checks in the plates for the use of the church. This is never required, but is seen as a tangible way of expressing our devotion and gratitude to God. After the offering we sing a hymn called “The Doxology.”

Our service concludes with a charge and benediction, when a pastor reminds us of God’s call and blesses us as we depart the sanctuary to be God’s people in the world.

At FPC, you can expect to see people dressed in varying degrees of formality in morning worship – you will see suits and ties, golf shirts, and other styles. We welcome you to come as you are, knowing that God welcomes all of us without reservation.

Our evening worship is a more casual experience, but contains many of the same elements – music, prayer, scripture, and songs led by our worship band. Each week in evening worship we celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and invite worshipers to come forward and receive a piece of bread dipped into a cup of grape juice, which are symbols of Christ’s body, broken for us, and Christ’s blood, shed for the forgiveness of sins. All are welcome to join in this feast.