Elements of Worship

Our worship service has three major components:

  • First, we Gather in God’s name.
  • Then, we Hear God’s Word.
  • Finally, we offer our Response to God’s Word and Spirit.

We Gather in God’s Name. Seven chimes toll at 10am to let everyone know it’s time to begin. We start with Greetings and Announcements. This is a chance to discuss church life, and is a supplement to our weekly email announcements (to be added to our weekly email list, please contact stantonchurch@gmail.com). We then have a Prelude, during which we prepare our hearts and minds as we welcome the light of Christ among us. This is a moment for meditation and reflection, allowing everyone a moment to settle in after the morning rush and begin to focus on worship.  We suggest silently reading the Preparation for Worship printed in your bulletin. Our Sanctuary Choir sings a Choral Introit, or entrance, and our liturgist offers the Call to Worship to invite the congregation into our service and set the tone for our time together. We all join in a hymn to praise God, no singing expertise required!

Next we do our communal Confession. This incorporates timely issues or the themes of the week in our scriptures and sermon; it is written for call-and-response in the bulletin followed by the Kyrie Eleison (Lord, have mercy upon us…). In the Assurance of Pardon, the pastor delivers the good news that we are forgiven, and we repeat together the Summary of the Law, by which we strive to practice living that honors and thanks God:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

We then “share the peace”, taking a moment to stand up and visit with one another. We glorify God together singing the Gloria Patri, and then the Sanctuary Choir offers the Choral Anthem for the day, which reflects the themes of the scripture and lessons we are about to receive.

We hear God’s Word.  This portion of our service includes the lessons for the day, and is delivered by the pastor and liturgist. We begin with the Children’s Moment (described in detail in the Families section below), followed by the Prayer for Illumination, Scripture Lessons (readings), and Message (sermon).

We respond to God’s Word and Spirit. We first offer a Hymn of Response to the message we just received, usually highlighting some way that we can engage our faith and lives as inspired by God’s Word. This is followed by the invitation to give our offerings (passing the plates), which we conclude with the Doxology:

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow; Praise God all creatures here below; Praise God above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

We also have an Offering Prayer from the pastor. Next, we do the Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer. We begin by asking for prayer requests from the congregation. The pastor will offer a prayer that incorporates our joys and concerns, and we end that prayer by communally saying the Lord’s Prayer.

By now the service is nearly over, so we prepare to reenter the world and begin our week by singing the Hymn of Sending. The pastor and then the choir both offer a Benediction (blessing), to send us on our way. After the Choral Benediction our service is over; you may leave, or remain for a few minutes to reflect and listen to the musical Postlude.

Communion. During Communion Sundays, we offer an Affirmation of Faith, the Apostle’s Creed, immediately after the Hymn of Response:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

After the offering, we begin The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. We have pew cards that walk us through the Meaning of the Sacrament, Invitation to Communion, Great Prayer of Thanksgiving, and Communion. All who are baptized, through any church or denomination, are invited to partake in the Lord’s Supper.  

 

*Some of our visitors are surprised to hear us proclaim our belief in the holy catholic Church! With love for our Catholic friends, we note that here we are actually referring to “small C” catholic, an adjective that means “universal and all-embracing.”