First Time Visitors

If you are a visitor, we would like to welcome you to First Christian Church!  Here are some things you might want to know about our service and facility:

What time should I arrive?

Worship begins at 10:00 am on Sundays. Please come early and join in the many conversations taking place!

Parking

Parking at First Christian is free and plentiful. If you wish, there is a circle drive where you can let off passengers at the front door before you park.

Accessibility

The front entrance is accessible with automatic doors. An elevator provides access to the lower level and our fellowship hall. We have audio amplifiers for those who prefer assistance in hearing the service. Just ask an usher for an amplifier.

Entering the building

Most people enter the building through the front door. You most likely will be greeted - please feel free to chat and ask questions. You may also enter the building through the side door if you park in the side parking lot. If you enter via this lower level door, you can go directly upstairs to the sanctuary or you can use the elevator, which is to the right as you come in the door. If you come in this way, you may miss the greeters, however, most people would be happy to talk and answer any questions.

Children

For children age 0-5 years, childcare is available in the nursery, located in a lower level classroom.

Parents are welcome to keep their children, including infants and small children, with them during worship. We celebrate children and enjoy having them with us, so you are encouraged to keep your child with you if you prefer. We offer activity bags and binders, to occupy busy hands and engage children in worship.  There are also rugs in front of the pews that provide space for children to have a front row seat to worship (with some additional worship supplies provided there). If you feel like your child is restless, you need to regroup, or you need a quiet spot for nursing or feeding, you are welcome to use room 114 (at the back of the sanctuary, just beyond the elevator). Here you can shut the door and continue to listen to the service through the speaker (the dial to turn it on is on the wall). Toys and a comfortable chair are available so you and your child can be at ease. Please note that we ask that children be supervised by an adult when they are in the building.

Seating

As you walk through the gathering space and toward the sanctuary, ushers will greet you and offer you a copy of the day's bulletin. The bulletin contains the order of the service, which includes the parts of the service, hymn numbers, and parts spoken by the congregation as part of worship. Much of this information will be projected on screens during the service.

Besides offering the bulletin, the ushers will be happy to assist you in finding seating, showing the location of the restrooms, and answer any other questions you might have.

Worship

Members and visitors may sit anywhere they prefer. Worship is conducted similar to many mainline Christian churches. There will be music, singing, scripture reading(s), and a sermon/message. At times the congregation is asked to stand, but individuals may remain seated if they prefer. Hymns are listed in the bulletin and on the projector screens. We use two hymnals, a red one (The Chalice Hymnal) and a purple one (the Chalice Praise hymnal). The words for the songs are projected on the screens, so reading from the hymnals is optional. Here are the components of a typical worship service:

Song of Preparation:  Ringing of an 1860’s church bell welcomes us to be seated in the sanctuary and reminds us of our long and continuing journey together as a congregation. After which the Disciples Singers will begin a song.  You are invited to greet one another as you take your seats.

Welcome & Announcements:  The pastor or worship leader extends welcome and provides announcements of events or deadlines that the congregation should know about.

Prelude:  During this time music is played, which allows individuals to prepare themselves mentally and spiritually for worship.  Children will light candles to represent God's presence with us.

Call to Worship:  A reader reads a passage or two that reminds us of scripture and the day's theme, with responses from the congregation. The words are in the bulletin and projected on the screens. This marks the beginning of worship and helps get the congregation in the frame of mind for worship.

Singing:  The Disciple Singers lead us in singing for worship.  Enjoy the many instruments and the variety of old and new songs during worship.

Readings:  Readings from scripture are read by a member. Passages often come from the Gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and are usually selected from the Revised Common Lectionary.

Children's Moment:  About 20 minutes into the service, children are called to come to the front, where a member provides a short message and prayer, geared to children.

A Time of Sharing & Prayer:  The pastor leads in communicating particular joys or concerns among the congregation and situations throughout the world. Individuals often use this time to ask for prayers for loved ones and friends who are going through difficult times.  A time of silence will follow during which you can pray silently, light candles as an act of prayer, or use any of the prayer tools from the table in the sanctuary.  A spoken prayer will lead us into the Lord's Prayer which you may pray using the words or language of your choice, or follow the version on the screens.

Sermon:  The pastor, or sometimes a designated person, reflects on the scripture readings to help us understand and relate the messages to our daily lives.

Offering:  Offering plates are passed among the congregation to receive freewill offerings and to collect the blue attendance cards. Many members pledge an amount annually and provide their offering in other ways (such as electronically), but some choose to provide their offering during this time. The money that is collected is used to support the many ministries that happen at and through First Christian Church.

Communion:  The Disciples of Christ have an open table. This means that we do not distinguish between members and visitors. All are welcome to participate in communion as an act of remembrance, fellowship and hope. The table is central to our worship, so we have communion weekly (and often at other events). The congregation remains in their seats, while servers provide trays of bread (all gluten-free & nut-free) and grape juice (instead of wine) for people to serve each other in their seats. Each person takes a small piece of bread and eats it. Then each person takes a small cup of grape juice and drinks it, replacing the cup in the tray. With their adult's permission, children also take part in communion. Anyone may choose not to participate in communion for any reason.

Closing Hymn and Benediction:  A hymn is chosen to prepare us to reenter the world. The benediction marks the end of worship with words that remind us of the day's scriptures and links them to what we can do as we go out. Visitors are encouraged to take one of our music CDs, created by members of our congregation, so they can listen to several of our common hymns for personal worship at home.

Fellowship:  Once worship is over, individuals may leave if they want, but many choose to stay in the gathering space at the back of the sanctuary where refreshments are served and people can get to know each other. Visitors are especialy encouraged to join us to talk and ask questions.