Program Year Schedule
10:30 am – Worship (the first Sunday of each month is Communion Sunday)
11:30 am – Coffee Hour and Fellowship
11:45 am – Adult Forums
The worship of God as a community of Christ Jesus is the central event each week in our life together. We invite and encourage all to join us as we worship together in our historic sanctuary on Sunday mornings.
Most weeks you can count on something like this:
* Music (we have a variety of choirs, a great organist, special music of various types, and a tradition of singing hymns together), greetings, prayers and a passing of the peace of our Christ to help bring us together.
* A message for children, followed by scripture readings, a choir anthem and the sermon to help us engage our faith story in context with our own lives. On occasion we will celebrate a baptismal service for a child or for an adult in the context of the expression of God’s good news for us all.
* A time to pray together (often sharing some of our own joys and concerns) and an offering of ourselves in the symbols of our gifts to God. On the first Sunday’s of most months this time of offering and prayer will also be focused into the celebration of communion in the ritual of the Lord’s Supper. In our tradition, everyone is welcome to share in the bread and cup, including children and visitors, at this sacramental and memorial practice of the faith.
* Usually we conclude with music, words of our shared covenant, and a benediction blessing. Often many of our fellowship stay in a time of meditation through the postlude music. The completion of the Sunday morning worship service is seen by many of us as the beginning of our new week of service to God in the Spirit of our love and care for our neighbors across the planet and for our own closer circles of family and friends.
First UCC celebrates Holy Communion (also known at the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist) on the first Sunday of every month, and on certain other special days during the year. We believe that God invites all people to God’s table, and so everyone (including children) is welcome to partake of the elements. A gluten-free line is offered at the rear of the sanctuary. People are also welcome not to partake, if they so choose, and to remain in their seats or to come forward for a word of blessing.
Members of the congregation come from many different backgrounds and hold different convictions about the nature of this sacrament. In general, we believe that the communion elements (bread, rice cakes, and grape juice) are living symbols of the present, past, and future redeeming life of Jesus Christ in all the world. We do not have a single liturgy for communion, but use a variety of prayers and songs.
The Language of Worship
Historically, Christian language about God has focused on masculine images for the divine – King, Lord, and male pronouns. This traditional language does not accurately reflect our theological understanding of God as transcending all human categories of sex, age, and appearance.
Consequently, our congregation chooses to use a larger repertoire of images and names of God, including feminine, masculine, and gender-neutral ones. Some of these are found in scripture (for example, God as the “rock of ages,” or Jesus referring to himself as a “mother hen”). Others come from the voices of creative and faithful people, including poets and hymn writers.
Both The New Century Hymnal (used for most congregational singing) and the United Church of Christ Book of Worship (used by the minister in leading services) share this commitment to more “inclusive language” about God and the church.
Holidays and Special Services
In addition to our regular Sunday worship, we have a variety of special services during the year. These usually include
- Lenten services (Wednesday evenings)
- Maundy Thursday and Good Friday
- Advent Services (Wednesday evenings)
- “Longest Night” (around December 21) – a quieter celebration of Christmas
- Christmas Eve
- Occasional Prayer Services