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We believe God is with us in all life, not just on Sunday or just in church. Regular worship, however, helps us find the grace of God together and the Sacraments bring us closer to God in special ways. On particular Sundays, the sacraments will be celebrated, which are Baptism and The Lord's Supper (Holy Communion).
These apart, the Sunday morning service will usually include the following:
We stand as the Bible is carried in and placed on the lectern stand. This is to remind ourselves that we honour the bible as containing the Word of God. The choir sings a short hymn of worship Announcements about church family events may be made at this point.
We all stand to sing a Hymn. Through the service we may sing five or six hymns or songs, in different styles, but all honouring God, re-telling a Bible story, or reminding us of what Jesus has done for us and asks us to do. The point here is participation. The music is to help us join in - you don't have to be a great singer!
We mostly use the hymnbook, Church Hymnary 4, which is handed out as you enter. A board at the front of the hall will have a list of the numbers, which are also announced.
At different times Prayers will be said. These will include prayers of praise and prayers of confession to God, of what we've done wrong. We also thank him for the forgiveness we receive and we commend others, those in the headlines and those known only to us, to God's help and mercy.
The worship leader, (and there may be more than one through a service) will lead us. He or she will announce the prayers and we usually sit while they are spoken. Most people bow their heads and close their eyes, but this is simply to aid concentration. Although just one voice is speaking at a time, the words are for all of us and there may also be times of silence where we can say our own silent prayers.
We say (and sometimes sing) the Lord's Prayer. This is the prayer Jesus taught his followers and is common to all Christian churches. The text is in the hymnbook.
A Family Time will include some item particularly aimed at the children (usually this is the adults favourite bit!). After this time the children often leave the main hall to go though to their clubs with their own programme.
Bible texts will be read. Bibles are available at the entrance and the page numbers are announced.
Readings can be from both the Old Testament or New Testament, because the bible is actually a volume of 66 separate books and letters. The different readings may be grouped around a particular theme for the day.
A Sermon or talks will be given by the preacher. This is where we can think a little more about the theme raised by the bible texts, looking back to the deeper meaning of the bible words certainly, but also looking into how they affect our lives today.
A money Offering will be collected. The choir sing or music is played while this happens, which emphasises that giving money is as much part of worship as anything else, because Jesus told us that to follow him involves 'life in all its fulness'. In other words, everything in our lives is owed to him. The money is counted and recorded after the service and goes to the work of the church - which is entirely funded by voluntary gifts.
The offering is dedicated with a short prayer.
At the end of the service, while standing after the final hymn, the worship leader will give a Blessing. Immediately after that, we sing 'Amen' three times.
Amen means 'Let it be so' and rounds off the worship. The three times is a reminder of the three aspects of God: Father, Son and holy Spirit.
Still standing, we sing, 'May God's blessing surround you...', a short verse which is projected on the wall from the overhead projector.
We sit for a final moment of thought, before we all move out for tea and time together. The order and content may vary from Sunday to Sunday, but these are the usual elements.