We Worship To live

Worship is the central part of life at Spirit of Hope.  It isn't the only thing we do but worship is a unique opportunity for us to encounter the real presence of Christ.

Worship happens on Sundays at 9a & 11a and the services are identical.  There are occasionally Unity Worship services that combine both services into one, usually centered around a congregational get together such as Trunk or Treat in the fall, and are an opportunity to get everyone in one place at one time.  You'll see those announced on the home page as well as in our weekly eNews and worship bulletins.

What you Can expect

We take worship very seriously but we don't take ourselves all that seriously.  God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the primary actors in worship so we let them use our voices to worship.

Wear what you like.  We're pretty casual by and large.  We don't see suits very often though Pr Lance will at least wear a tie for confirmation Sunday and a tie and jacket on Christmas and Easter.  Again, we take worship seriously but not so much ourselves.

We try not to use too much insider language or churchy words opting instead to use regular words.  For example, the front entryway in a church is sometimes called a narthex.  We call ours the Commons.  There are times and places when the 'church word' is the best one to use and we do that but not very much.

Our worship style is liturgically modified contemporary.   Which is a fancy way of saying that we use most of the elements of traditional liturgy though not in the order you may expect if you're steeped in traditional liturgy.  And most of our music is contemporary but we don't limit ourselves.  We try to use the music that fits what is happening that day.

We use what is called the 'narrative lectionary' for sermons.  The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. On the Sundays from September through May each year the texts follow the sweep of the biblical story, from Creation through the early Christian church:

  • From September to mid-December the preaching texts begin with the early chapters of Genesis, move through the stories of Israel’s early history, the exodus, the kings, prophets, exile, and return.
  • From Christmas to Easter there is sustained reading of one of the four gospels
  • From Easter to Pentecost the texts are chosen from Acts and Paul’s letters.
The texts include the major episodes in Scripture. They are arranged in a narrative sequence to help people see Scripture as a story that has coherence and a dynamic movement.  Many of us have struggled with Bible familiarity at one time or another and the narrative lectionary is helpful in tying stories together.  The narrative lectionary texts will also be the weekly text for Prime Time.

The texts also show the breadth and variety of voices within Scripture. They invite people to hear the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Moses and the prophets, Jesus, and Paul. Listening to the many different voices within Scripture enriches preaching and the life of faith.

If you're not sure what any of that means, come see us anyway.  We try to explain things as we go along so no one gets left behind. 

Communion

Known by many names and yet there is one Christ, given for each of us.  Whether you know it as communion, the eucharist, the holy meal or any other name, we celebrate it every week at both services (we call it communion).

 As noted above, when we come to the celebration of Holy Communion, all are definitely welcome.  We believe that Christ is truly present in the earthly elements of bread and wine, and that in this meal, Christ has invited all people to share in his love and gift of salvation.  No matter age or faith tradition be assured that you're welcome at Christ's table.  If you haven't experienced communion yet but would like to, please have a conversation with the pastor.

Kids in worship

We have strong opinions about young people in worship.  Kids are welcome, included and expected in worship participation and leadership.  Really.  We mean that (see our praise team above - it's frequently like this).  For this reason we don't have a staffed nursery.  It isn't because we can't get volunteers, it's because we don't want kids dropped off.   We really do want them in worship!

We know it can be difficult with little ones (and big ones on occasion) in worship.  But the simple truth is that we learn to worship by being in worship.  We don't believe the idea that they can't understand what's going on, particularly with regard to the sermon.  What we have learned along the way is that young people are picking up many aspects of faith by being in worship.

So relax!  God put the wiggle in children; don’t feel you have to suppress it in God’s house.  We get it and we don't mind.  We actually kind of like it because there is a sense of life when kids are making some noise.

Sit toward the front where it is easier for your little ones to see and hear what’s going on at the altar.  They tire of seeing the backs of others’ heads.

Quietly explain the parts of the service and actions of the pastor, readers, praise team, etc.  When you think they're ready, invite them to participate as worship leaders.

Sing the songs, pray and voice the responses.  Children learn patterns of worship by copying you.

If you have to leave the service with your child, we understand this too.  Everyone has experienced one of 'those' moments when a bit of a breather is necessary so feel free to step out for a moment if you need.  BUT, and this is an important but, please come back.  As Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.”

Remember that the way we welcome children in church directly affects the way they respond to the Church, to God, and to one another.  Let them know that they are at home in this house of worship.

Children, please feel free to do your art work or words on the front of this worship folder or get an activity bag from the nursery.

Have we mentioned we do welcome the young ones in worship?