St. John's United Church of Christ

 

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Traditional

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

 

At St. John's UCC, we believe that worship is the single most important activity in which a Christian can be engaged.  It is the center from which the rest of our Christian life flows.  In our corporate (i.e., shared) Traditional Worship Service we enter into God's presence with other believers in order to give our lives to Lord so that we can be transformed according to his purposes.  It is in worship that we see God most clearly, and therefore see ourselves as we truly  are.  Genuine, Christ-centered worship can therefore cause great joy as well as deep sorrow as it both comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.  When we have truly worshipped our Lord, we are no longer satisfied with an easy "me and Jesus" attitude.  Rather we are energized by His Spirit to re-enter the world of our daily lives in order to genuinely love the people around us (even the difficult ones) and to work for God's glory rather than our own.  

OBJECTIVES OF WORSHIP SERVICE:

The worship service strives to:

  • praise God,
  • thank God,
  • confess sin,
  • tell the big story about what God has done in Jesus Christ,
  • apply this gospel to us here and now,
  • give us an opportunity to offer ourselves to God,
  • intercede in prayers for others, and
  • unify us with one another and with God.

DESIGN OF SERVICE:

To meet the above objectives, the order of service is designed around a common set of elements organized into four major phases of worship:

  • gathering - coming together and preparing ourselves to hear God's message,
  • proclaiming - of God's message through the public readings of the scriptures and inspiring sermons,
  • responding - to God's message in gratitude for God's blessings, and
  • sending - us out into the world to live God's message as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Sealing is also an important element of the worship service that occurs frequently but is not part of every worship service.  Sealing includes the sacraments of Baptism and Communion.

Although there is a common structure to each worship service, there is no sense of going through the motions, since each service is planned individually, with every element designed to enhance and communicate the central theme and message of that particular service.

The planning for the worship service follows the liturgical calendar that divides the Christian year into a series of seasons (e.g., Advent, Christmas, Easter, etc...).  Each season has its owen mood, theological emphasis, and modes of prayer, which are signified in the sanctuary by different ways of decorating church, different colors of paraments and vestments for clergy, scriptural readings, and themes for preaching.

The active involvement of deacons, elders and lay persons in the service are encouraged.

Hearing devices are made available to the hearing impaired.  Also the worship is typically recorded and a copy delivered to members who are no longer able to attend the worship service.

MUSIC

In the New Testament God gave us a model for corporate worship including an instruction to sing: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Colossians 3:12-17).  Believers are exhorted to "...be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms [a sacred worship song directed to teh Lord in response to His great love] and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your Heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:18-19)

From the New Testament scripture it is clear that the purpose of the music and singing during the service is to praise and worship  the Lord (Psalm 95:1-2) lifting our thoughts and emotions to God.  Also, singing is one of the most emotive ways we can communicate our thoughts and feelings.  From the joy of a love song to the grief of a funeral hymn, songs move people in a way that mere spoken words can't.  Therefore it is natural that music is one of the powerful ways in which we express ourselves in a worship service.  These principles guide our music selection.

Our music is typically led by a magnificent M.P. Moller organ and senior choir, and includes both lively congregational singing of sacred hymns as well as special music designed to touch our hearts such as songs by other groups like our hand bell choir, children, men's gospel choir, etc...

The use of piano, strings, brass, and percussion instruments complement the organ as needed.  Occasionally, thought provoking and entertaining dramas related to the message are presented at the services.  These dramas apply the service theme to everyday life situations.

Throughout the year, "Festival" services are occasionally held to provide the opportunity for worshippers from both our Traditional and Contemporary services to sit down together and worship as one family.  For the festival services, we designed a mix of traditional hymns, led the senior and organ, with contemporary praise songs, lead by our Praise Band.

WORSHIP SPACE:

Considerable care went into the design of our worship space to ensure it reflects and symbolizes the theology and liturgy of the Reformed Church.  For example, anything that might suggest any division or degrees of importance between the pastors and the people are avoided architecturally.  The physical layout reflects the concept of priesthood of all believers; when seated and not carrying out a specific liturgical function, the pastors and liturgists sit on the same level as the congregation.

Careful thought was given to the major architectural elements within the worship space of God's grace and love.  At the front of the sanctuary is a magnificent chancel cross made of rosewood with hand-carved symbols that remind us of the sacrifice inherent in the cross of Christ and the loving grace of God.  The narthex screen separating the nave from the narthex is an abstract interpretation of the Creation as related in the first chapters of Genesis.  The sculptured, brick panel forming the apse end of the sanctuary was inspired from the Old Testament parable of the reapers and gleaners receiving the harvest of the field.  The panel helps to remind us, as we sit in worship, that we receive not only our material food from God, but we also receive our spiritual food from God.  The stained glass windows use an abstract color design to direct our attention to the focal point of worship at the front of the church.

For many, the Traditional service offers a reverant worship space that is comforting, calming and conducive to worshippers opening their hearts to God.

COME JOIN US:

If you feel most connected to God in a setting that employs liturgy, beautiful & varied choral music, traditional hymns with accompaniment on the organ and piano, you will be at home in the Traditional Service.  Feel free to come as you are, for God accepts each of us however we come to Him, with our doubts and faith, our hopes and fears, our successes and failures.  If you would like to worship alongside others who are daily seeking to follow Jesus Christ or if you just want to explore what Jesus might mean to you, please join us.

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