Throughout the year, in addition to our regular Sunday morning worship services, we will have special services focused on a specific theme. Here are some of the annual services that we offer throughout the year:
Ash Wednesday: This is a contemplative evening service, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season. It usually occurs in February, sometimes March. At this service, we experience the imposition of ashes on our foreheads.
Palm Sunday: This lively Sunday morning service is always the Sunday immediately before Easter. We celebrate Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem, as he was there to celebrate the Jewish festival of Passover. On this Sunday, we have a processional into the sanctuary while waving palm branches, and we hear the story of how Jesus rode a donkey into the city and people lined the road and covered it with branches, as a demonstration of respect.
Maundy Thursday: This somber, evening service is always the Thursday right before Easter, during Holy Week. We take Communion and hear the story of Jesus’ final meal with his disciples before he was crucified.
Easter Sunrise Service: This service is always at dawn on Easter morning. We have the service outside in the park across the street from the church, and on years when we have a Confirmation class, they plan and lead the service. Afterwards we head inside the church to warm up with cocoa and donuts.
Easter Festival Service: This service is at 10:30am on Easter morning, when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection! As a congregation, we decorate a large cross with flowers, and we often have special guest musicians.
Earth Sunday: This service usually coincides with Earth Day in April. Our Green Team organizes it, and the whole worship liturgy is planned around being good stewards of the earth. Sometimes the service involves special interactive activities or a guest preacher.
Confirmation Sunday: This is usually in the first Sunday of May or June, and our Confirmands plan the service and help preside over Communion. At this service, they have a special ceremony in which they confirm their baptismal promises and become members of the church. We have a special reception after worship to celebrate this milestone in our young people’s lives.
Children’s Sunday: This service is in the beginning of June, when we celebrate our Children’s Ministries. We recognize all the teachers and assistants who helped with Sunday School throughout the year. We recognize graduating high school seniors, and incoming 3rd graders get their Bibles for the first time. Afterwards, we have a delicious ice cream social to celebrate.
Music Appreciation Sunday: This service is also in June, when we recognize our Music Ministries. We thank the choir and our music director for their hard work and commitment.
Welcome Back Sunday: This is always the Sunday after Labor Day, when we celebrate that the new program year is beginning after a summer hiatus. We always have a delicious brunch after worship.
Mission’s Sunday: This Sunday is in October, and it’s a chance for us to highlight one of the organizations that our Missions Committee supports. We often have a guest speaker from that organization, and sometimes we have a special luncheon after church to learn more about the important work that our Missions Committee does.
Stewardship Sunday: This Sunday is in November. It’s the launch of our Stewardship season, in which we invite people to prayerfully consider how they’ll support the church with their time, talent and treasure in the upcoming year. On this Sunday, stewardship packets are handed out and we have a special luncheon to launch that year’s stewardship theme.
Thanksgiving In Gathering Sunday: This is always the Sunday before Thanksgiving and it’s packed full of activities. During worship, we collect people’s pledge cards for the upcoming year, along with their Time and Talent surveys. We also collect food that will be included in that year’s In Gathering event. The In Gathering is that same Sunday, after church, and our big hall gets set up with all the fixin’s for a Thanksgiving meal. Clients then come from our local food pantry come and “shop” for the ingredients they want for their Thanksgiving meal. This event is sponsored and supported by many local community groups.
Christmas Eve Services: We have two Christmas Eve Services every year, at 7:00pm and at 11:00pm.
Our 7:00 service is a family-friendly service in which we hear Jesus’ birth story and sing lots of Christmas Carols. We end the service by holding candles and singing Silent Night in the darkened sanctuary. Nursery care is provided.
The 11:00pm service is more contemplative, and we have Communion. We end the service with candlelight in the same way that we end the 7:00 service.