What to Expect & FAQ
Sunday morning is the time for our entire community, young and old, to be physically present to one another within the community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are always surrounded by and immersed in this Trinitarian life! But Sunday is the day we look each other in the eye, receive the bread and wine from one another's hands, and hear the peace and forgiveness of Christ from one another's lips.
You’ll notice a few things about our church service: we follow a pattern of prayers and scripted words. This is called our ‘liturgy’ which literally means the work of the people. When we come to church, we believe we are privileged to be given something to do – not just sit there! We stand, we sit, we kneel, we offer our whole selves and our whole bodies to God. This is our ‘gospel aerobics’ and it doesn’t change much. Rest assured that no one is grading you on your participation. We are all students here – learning to live the liturgy takes a lifetime. To learn more about a Theology of Liturgy, click here.
Our music is simple, allowing for space to think and reflect, and draws from old and newer traditions. We enjoy Celtic music, Taize, Psalms, and hymns which span many centuries. The Scriptures tell us that, from the church’s birth, those who made up that tiny far-flung minority loved to sing together - first the Psalms, and then they would innovate by composing hymns of their own. Most of these songs have been lost to us, but the ones we still have we treasure.
We love children and all of the noises and unpredictability that inevitably accompany them wherever they may be found...including our Sunday morning service! Having old and young praying, singing, confessing, and kneeling together is an important part of Trinity life. We offer nursery care for children ages 0-3 during the sermon, although parents are also welcome to walk around with their children whenever they need to throughout the service. Sunday school for ages PK-6th grade is offered during second service, September through May. During the summer, most children stay with their families during the service, coloring and participating in the ways that they can. (And yes, for many of us, this was a new - though not unpleasant - adjustment that took some time. We get this - and we are just glad that you are with us.) To learn more about Trinity & Children, click here.
Children and adults take communion weekly in our church, because we believe that we are nourished by Christ both in the Word and sacrament. In this, we are trying to recapture the original intent of the Protestant Reformers, who tried to recover the weekly practice of taking Communion as part of our regular spiritual diet. Our church service builds through music, Scripture reading, sermon, and Creed to its high point – which is walking forward and taking communion together. If you do not wish to receive communion (or have your children receive), you can come forward to receive a blessing and still be part of this joyful movement. To learn more about our tradition, click here.
Why do we lean into ancient traditions? Ancient words remind us that our worship is part of something historic and bigger than ourselves. While we enjoy spontaneous prayer, scripted prayers can lend us words to pray when we have trouble articulating what is in our hearts. But of course, we pray them with the same sincerity and urgency!
Why do we sing the Psalms? We sing the Psalms because this was the prayer book of the Bible. The Psalms taught Jesus to pray. They now teach us to pray by giving us a range of words and emotions to speak to God – praise, lament, request – all these are sanctified in the Psalms.
Why do we say the Lord's Prayer and the Creed? It is hard to say the ‘our Father’ by ourselves! Saying the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer are important things that we cannot do by ourselves, for ourselves. You’ll notice that the Creed is not abstract, but the concrete life and death of Jesus. It is this story that shapes our own, and which we have been affirming since the early church first bore witness to it.
Is the pastor forgiving sins? Is that right? Only God can forgive sin. And God charges his ministers with pronouncing the forgiveness that he eagerly extends in Christ. For many, it is powerful to audibly hear these words and be reminded that we are indeed forgiven.
Why do we take communion so often? We come to church to be with Jesus. This happens in three places: the Word (the Scriptures), the Word-made-flesh (Communion), and the Body of Christ (your neighbor). When Jesus left earth, he didn’t leave us a book to read but a meal. We come to church to be nourished by Jesus and be reoriented toward him. [Note to historians: during the Reformation, the Protestant Church tried to reform Communion by taking it weekly, as it was only offered to the public once a year!]
How do I take communion? Can Children? Children are part of the body of Christ and when they are baptized, they can receive the food of Christ. At what point do they really know what is happening? At what point do we adults fully know what is happening? Like learning the liturgy, learning to understand the mystery of Communion takes a lifetime. We are always growing in union with Christ, and our understanding continues to grow as we do. If you hunger for more of Christ but are not yet certain, please talk to someone about how to help that hunger grow. If you do not wish to take Communion, you may remain seated – or come forward, arms crossed across your chest, for a prayer of blessing that your hunger may grow. Remember that this is a sacred moment, but also a joyous one!