WORSHIP

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Worship
Worship is a time to come together and experience God. It’s the central thing that churches do, and everything else we do flows from it. In worship, we hear the Good News of Jesus and celebrate the Holy Meal in bread and wine. We also share what’s going on in our lives and what’s going on in our community, and we pool our resources to be a blessing to the world.


What to Expect
St. Stephen’s has a large parking lot and an accessible entrance. Enter through the big main doors, and you’ll walk into a spacious lobby, or narthex. There, greeters will welcome you. An Usher will be at the door to hand you a bulletin (which is the booklet with the worship service in it along with news in the community) and help you find a seat. Public restrooms are located down a side hallway, and the ushers can help you find those, too. Once you enter the sanctuary, or worship space, you’ll notice plenty of spaces to sit. Our music leaders sit in the area in the rear around the organ, and most people take a seat in our many pews. There’s often time for conversation before the prelude, which is the music before the service begins. Our service begins with a welcome and announcement from the pastor. Then, we begin the worship service. Everyone participates differently in worship according to their needs, desires, and abilities, but we basically all do the same thing.

 

Gathering
This is the in-between time when we all come together. We begin by confessing our sin and hearing the good news of our forgiveness. The pastor and the congregation share a formal greeting. We sing a few songs to set the stage for the day, and our gathering concludes with a brief prayer.

 

Word
God speaks to us through the stories and songs of the Bible. Before reading the Bible, however, there is a brief children’s message. During the Word section, someone from the congregation reads a story from the Old Testament and another one from the New Testament. Sometimes, we sing a Psalm, an ancient song written in the Bible. We stand and sing to welcome the Gospel, which is read from one of the four stories of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. After the Gospel is read, the pastor delivers a short Sermon, proclaiming God’s Word. Each of us in the congregation then proclaims God’s Word by singing a song and reciting the Creed, an ancient statement of belief. We also respond to God’s word with prayers for our church, our community, and all those in need.


Meal
This is the fun part. We begin with the offering. In our church, it’s often a musical offering by our choir, or “Generosity again,” which is a brief address by the pastor talking about how we give back to the community. People are welcome to leave a cash or check offering in the plate at the rear of the church. The bread and wine for the Meal are part of the offering.

Then, we set the table for the Holy Meal, also called Holy Communion or the Eucharist. What follows is an extended thanksgiving prayer for Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. During this prayer, we remember how Jesus shared a meal with his disciples, or followers, before he died. During this special meal, he held up bread and told us that it was his body. He held up a cup of wine and said it was his blood. When share bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus, we believe his body and blood are in, with, and under the meal. This real presence of Jesus forgives us our sin, unites us with all believers past and future, and brings us eternal life.

After the thanksgiving, the bread and wine is shared by everyone who wants it. Ushers will guide you to the front of the church, where you will receive a piece of bread (or a wafer of bread) and a little cup of either wine or grape juice. If you prefer, you may receive a blessing, or alert an usher and the worship leaders will bring communion to your seat.

 

Sending
This is the shortest part of the service. God blesses us and sends us out to do God’s will and spread God’s Word. We conclude with a song and a dismissal. Be sure to stay for coffee hour and Sunday school! You can recycle your bulletin, or keep it as a handy guide for what’s to come this week.


We hope you’ll join us for worship here at St. Stephen’s. It’s a great way to connect with God and with the community. We believe it changes us to do God’s work in our world.

 

Worship with us every Sunday at 9:30AM

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