St. John's United Church of Christ

 

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Contemporary

As of January 1, 2017 the congregation is worshiping in a blended worship style at 10:00am in the Sanctuary. 

 

God invites us to worship Him.  He takes delight in it.  At St. John's, worship is an integral part of the work set before the church along with mission, making disciples, and fellowship.  We acknowledge and recognize as worthy, all forms of orthodox worship.  We strive to foster spiritual growth in our members and visitors by putting them into the presence of the Lord in worship and to present the transforming news of Jesus Christ in innovative ways.    

During the 1990's, a growing number of churched persons around the world were moved to listen to and worship through a variety of Christian music genres.  Many had experienced worship gatherings rooted in folk masses, campfire songs, "Jesus rock", and Gospel music that had come out of the 60's, 70's, and 80's.  After sharing the joy and inspiration of these "contemporary" listening experiences, the church wanted more.  They were willing to travel hundreds of miles to Christian music gatherings such as the Creation Festival here in Pennsylvania.  They wanted these offerings on the radio, their personal listening devices, and in their sanctuaries.  Many congregations debated the worth of developing contemporary worship ventures and St. John's was no exception.  Our discernment, in 2004, was that a time of worship would be birthed that would speak to persons in a new and different style.  It would celebrate the same faith embraced in our traditional service. 

Three principles guide us in the planning of our weekly contemporary worship gathering.  Our effort must be Christ-centered, utilize all the gifts of all the people, and embrace the innovation and mystery that has always made  contact with our almighty God life-changing.

Christ-Centered 

We recognize that Jesus has been and always shall be the church's foundation.  As He valued prayer, so we have found it essential anytime we begin planning.  The content of our worship gathering is based on the word of God, centered on  Christ's Gospel.  We study the weekly scripture suggested by the international lectionary which sparks song selection, worship innovations, and themes for exhortation.  Just as Jesus came as a real human being with a birth, a life of teaching and service, and then culmination his death and Resurrection, we follow the traditional church year that celebrates this sequence of events.  We celebrate His birth (Advent), revelation of Christ (Epiphany), "ordinary times" of serving and teaching, suffering and death (Lent), and Resurrection (Easter) seasons.  We recognize the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples and to us (Pentecost).  As Jesus taught that all should be served, we strive to be welcoming and show hospitality to all who arrive for our worship gatherings.  His command and our task is to share his word with all who would hear.  The sacrament of Holy Communion is celebrated at least monthly and is offered to all confirmed Christians.  We confess, enjoy forgiveness, and explore the word of God.  We reflect the love Christ shows by responding through offering our time and talent.  We praise Him with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength!  We uplifet servants in mission locally and internationally and work and pray for those in need.  We share our life experiences with others where Christ has worked through and in us. 

All the gifts of all people

St. John's is not populated by extraordinary people.  We are teachers, factory workers, retired persons, sales people, carpenters, health professionals, and the list goes on.  But when we come together in Christ, even ordinary people can produce remarkable sounds, prayers, and testimony in word and action.  We are blessed people and wish to share our blessings.  For us, the sounds of contemporary Christian music are one avenue that moves us to experience the presence of God.  We recognize that all persons have gifts requiring discovery, refinement, and utilization for the good of humankind and the gifts are good.  From initial efforts to excellence--gloria dei!  All we do is done to the glory of God.  Worship is where we come together to focus and start the process of being the church.

Mystery

Meeting God in Christ is in itself a mystery.  It is our aim that all who worship with us encounter the living God. Our worship should invoke a spirit of wonder and awe that a God as powerful as ours should love us.  When persons gather in the name of Christ in worship, songs intensify, words take on a new meaning, and goose-bumps mingle with tears and laughter.  There is drama.  This is the transformation of worship.  You just feel it.

We make room for the mystery that is worship.  The space in which we celebrate the presence of God utilizes the miracle of light's many manifestations, seasonal color changes, and symbols of the church.  We celebrate innovation and creativity but balance our efforts with songs that are "singable", words that are understandable, and emotions that are genuine.  Worship is a place to feel safe yet challenged to change, to feel joy yet sorrow for what we have done and left undone, comfort, while recognizing the discomfort of others. 

Christ came as a suffering servant, not just to be worshiped and glorified.  We can do no less.  Worship, without efforts in discipleship, mission, and fellowship, fails the intent of being His "church".  Thus, we acknowledge that our worship hours on Sunday are a great start for the week's work of serving.  We recognize the blessing of a shepherding pastor that leads well-intented believers away from aimlessness and self-doubt.  Worship is a new beginning for all of us.  It is a great gift from God.   

Come, let us bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, 

and the sheep of his hand."    Psalm 95:6-7

Service Hours

Worship Service on Sunday

9 am Church School
10 am Worship in Sanctuary

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St. John's United Church Of Christ

1811 Lincoln Way East
Chambersburg PA 17202-3390

Tel: 717-263-8593
Fax: 717-263-9010