Traditional Sunday services at First Presbyterian Church of Elko typically follow this order:
Prelude Organ or piano music is played as the congregation gathers.
Welcome and Announcements The pastor opens the service and invites congregation members to come forward to deliver announcements.
Passing of the Peace The congregation rises to meet and greet others and welcome guests.
Call to Worship Congregation remains standing and faces each other across the center aisle and reads the Call to Worship aloud from the church bulletin.
Hymn Congregation stands to sing from the hymnals. Two Acolytes, usually young children, come down the center aisle, light the candles at the front of the church, and then return down the center aisle.
Call to Confession Congregation reads aloud the prayer of confession printed in the bulletin. This statement varies from week to week. It is followed by an assurance of pardon and a traditonal song of response.
Special Music Usually a Choir Anthem, though during the summer months, members of the congregation may share their musical gifts.
Children’s Sermon Children are invited forward for a message from a lay volunteer. Thereafter, children may return to their families. Alternatively, children under age 6 may go to the adult-supervised nursery, and older children (ages 4 through Second Grade) may go to Children’s Church (adult-led activities in the church schoolrooms). Parents needing assistance with their children should ask the usher (located in the back/Narthex) for help and guidance. Written prayer requests from congregation members are passed to the outside aisles and collected by ushers during the children’s sermon.
Proclamation of the Word A lay reader typically reads scripture passages on which the sermon will be based.
Sermon The pastor or a guest speaker delivers a sermon lasting approximately 20 minutes.
Hymn Congregation rises to sing from the hymnal.
Affirmation of Faith The congregation remains standing to recite the Apostle’s Creed, printed in the bulletin, then sits.
Communion or other events, such as baptisms or welcoming of new members, are often inserted here in the order of service. If this is a Communion Sunday (typically the first Sunday of each month), ushers pass cubes of communion bread and small cups of grape juice on trays among the congregation at this time. Anyone who wishes to follow Christ is welcome to participate in the communion offering. It is our custom for all to hold their pieces of bread until everyone has been served before eating it, to signify that we are one in Christ. When the juice is passed, however, each person may partake of it when they choose, to signify individuals’ personal relationships with Christ. There are holders for the empty cups on the back of each pew.
Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer The pastor incorporates the written prayer requests into a prayer followed by the Lord’s Prayer, which the congregation also prays aloud. On Communion Sundays, the Lord’s Prayer is sung by the congregation.
Offering Ourselves and Our Gifts to God A member of the congregation may come forward to explain a particular mission project or need. This is followed by offertory music as plates are passed among the congregation for the collection of tithes or offerings. Note that guests are not expected to contribute to the offering, though they are most welcome to do so.
Doxology As the collection plates are brought forward, the congregation stands and sings, “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise God, all creatures here below; Praise God above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.” The pastor then offers a brief prayer of dedication in thanks for the offering.
Hymn The congregation remains standing and sings a hymn from the hymnal.
Charge and Blessing The Pastor reads from the bulletin and the congregation remains standing and responds by reading aloud what is printed in boldface type in the bulletin.
Congregational Response The congregation sings a short song from the hymnal as the Acolytes come forward, snuff the candles, and precede the Pastor back down the center aisle.
Fellowship The Pastor usually is available at the main church door after the service to speak with congregation members as they leave the church. Thereafter, he joins other service attendees who have chosen to go to the fellowship hall for coffee, punch, and refreshments that are provided and served by various groups within the church. Guests are most welcome to stay for fellowship so they can learn more about our church and meet its pastor and members.