Worship 101

You can comfortably attend the service when you know what to expect and how to react!


Our Order of Worship

When you enter the church, our ushers will welcome you and hand you the day's bulletin. The order of worship is in the bulletin.  In fact, everything you need for the service is in the bulletin or in the hymnal in the pew rack, below the pew in front of you.  Let's walk through a "typical" service.  (Note that I said 'typical'!)


First, there may be Sunday’s when there are one or more inserts.  Take a moment to see if any of these will be needed as part of the service.  Most likely, they are all things you can address later. 

Preparation for Worship

There are many ways to prepare for worship.  You may wish to greet those around, enjoy the music or simply sit in prayerful silence.  This is entirely up to you.  This is also a great time to fill out the Visitor Card located in the holder in the pew, this allows us to know if you are looking for more information or have questions.  If you have any comments or questions, go ahead and include them here.  Somebody will get back to you if you ask to be contacted!


The prelude is the musical offering, often performed on the organ or piano, while we  settle in for worship.  This is our time to become more centered in our worship experience.  

When do I stand and sit?

A single plus sign (+) next to an item in the bulletin means we invited you to rise, in body or spirit, with the congregation. Otherwise, remain seated. If you are standing up for a hymn, take your cue from the choir, when they stand up, that is when you should stand up.  (This is not a hard and fast rule, just a suggestion so you feel comfortable during the service.) 

Welcome & Call to Worship

Today's Lay Liturgist will open our time together with a Welcome and Call to Worship.  The Call is normally a responsive reading, which means the Lay Liturgist reads part of the text and the congregation reads the bolded text.

First Hymn

The Call to Worship is followed by the first hymn.  Remember, if there is an plus sign (+) in front of the word "HYMN", you are invited to rise in body or spirit. 

Prayer of Confession or Invocation

At the beginning of our worship time we share a unison prayer, either confession or invocation.  The unison prayer is printed in the bulletin.  Words of Assurance follow prayers of confession.


Remain seated (there is no plus sign), and enjoy the Choir as they share their musical gifts and offerings!

Childern's Time

The children gather with the pastor at the front of the church.  The Pastor will focus directly on our children for a few moments, then invite them to say a prayer.  When finished, the children are invited to the chapel for a time of singing before going to their Church School classes.  Church School is a time for children to learn about God, Jesus and our Christian traditions.  In addition, childcare is provided from 9:45 to 11:15 for children under age 3 in the nursery which is located in our education wing. An attendant and volunteers staff the nursery.

The Scripture Lesson

The Lay Reader reads the scripture lesson(s).  There are Bibles in the pews for those wishing to read along.


You are invited to listen to the sermon for how the words shared have relevance in your daily life.  The message may be challenging, provocative, humorous or comforting.  There may be times that the Pastor will come into the congregation to ask questions or engage the gathered community.


This hymn typically follows the theme of  the sermon.  We almost always rise - look for the plus sign (+).

Sharing of Celebrations and Concerns

One of the gifts of community is the sharing of those things that bring us joy and those things that weight upon us.  On Sundays that there is Prayers of the People the pastors will ask if there are joys or concerns to be shared.

Prayers of the People/Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer

The Pastor leads the congregation in offering up prayers for others in need, our prayer time is completed as we join together is praying the Lord’s Prayer, as it is printed in the bulletin.

The Offering

The Pastor will invite to consider the ways that we have been blessed and called to be a blessing to others through the sharing of our gifts in the offering.  There will be a musical offering shared for us to reflect on, this may be an offering by the Choir, the Accompanist on either the piano or organ, or an offering by the Memorial Bell Choir. When the ushers have finished collecting they will return up the aisles.  The congregation rises and sings the Offering Response as printed in the program.  (This changes to reflect the liturgical season.)  Remain standing for the Prayer of Dedication.

Closing Hymn

Check for the plus sign (+), but we normally stand for the final hymn.

Benediction and Response

As we prepare to leave worship and enter the world the Pastor offers blessing and a challenge to the congregation.  There are times when the congregation is invited to join in a unison response.   The Choir will, on occasion, provide a sung Benedication Response.


Once the postlude begins, feel free to reflect on the service.  Following the Postlude you are invited join us in Fellowship Hall for Conversation and Refreshments.


In the United Church of Christ we observe two sacraments: baptism (for both children and adults) and communion.

Baptisms are celebrated on certain Sundays during the year as a part of our Sunday worship service. To learn more about Baptism at South Church please click the following link Baptism.  If you are interested, please call the church office.

Communion, or the Lord's Supper, is celebrated the first Sunday of the month, or on special occasions. Everyone is welcome at Christ's table and membership in this church or any church is not a requirement. Children are welcome to participate.

We have a variety of ways of serving communion, which vary from time to time. "Congregational style" is served to people as they sit in the pews. "Intinction" involves people coming forward to receive a piece of bread and then to dip the bread into the communion cup. Whatever method we use, there are always communion liturgists helping to direct the congregation so don't feel nervous! If you have a question, feel free to ask one the liturgists or an usher. We always use grape juice in the cup.  We also share from one loaf of gluten-free bread.


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