Worship with us every Sunday at 9:30AM
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
God Welcomes All Families to St. Stephen’s
WORSHIPPING WITH CHILDREN
God put the wiggles and the giggles in your little one, and we are grateful for it! St. Stephen’s is a congregation where all ages are welcome to worship together as God calls and equips them. Rest assured that your little ones will be cherished for who they are, and you will be encouraged to bring them to church. God welcomes all families to St. Stephen’s, and we celebrate that families come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
CHILDREN WORSHIP, TOO!
Our Sunday service includes a special time for children, an “All God’s Children” message. Right before the Bible lessons, Pastor walks out among everyone for an interactive sermon talking about the readings to come. Encourage your little one to listen and participate during this time.
We have special bulletins, booklets, and crayons to keep them busy when needed. There’s nothing wrong with a Holy Distraction!
Many of the songs we sing are repeated week-to-week or easy to learn. Kids learn to sing—and learn it’s okay to sing—in church.
Sitting up front may seem intimidating, but this lets your child see and hear what’s going on and keeps them engaged.
If at any moment you need to move, feel free to do so! Lots of people do it, not just parents and children! Bathroom breaks, diaper breaks, or time out of the sanctuary is always okay.
Sometimes it can feel like everyone is seeing and hearing YOU, but rest assured that the microphones and instruments do their job.
After our 9:30 AM worship service, there is a 30-minute Sunday school time for both children and adults. Children learn together in the sanctuary, while adults meet in the lounge. This way, your family can worship together and learn at the same time afterwards.
EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO COMMUNION
Our church welcomes everyone to Holy Communion regardless of age. Typically, families decide when it’s appropriate for children to begin taking communion. If your child wishes, they may do so! Some families prefer there to be instruction before “first communion” or at a time after the child has already been taking communion. For information about communion instruction, email Pastor Joe.
GOD WELCOMES US THROUGH BAPTISM
Baptism is a “holy bath” through which we receive forgiveness of sins and we become members of the church, Christ’s body. It is the beginning of the Christian faith, and we are happy to celebrate Baptism with your family. For baptismal inquiries, contact the church by phone or email.
Typically done during middle school, Confirmation lessons offer a way to learn about the Christian faith before affirming one’s baptism. By doing so, one becomes a voting member of the church. For inquiries about confirmation, please email us.
We have a small-but-mighty youth group here at St. Stephen’s! Sign up for our weekly newsletter for more details.