Worship at Starkdale is an opportunity for God’s people (members and guests) to present themselves before God and report for duty and service. We gather to praise God, pray, offer of ourselves and belongings, hear God’s word interpreted, and then go out to serve in Christ’s name in the community at large.
Our present order of worship, which is approved by the session, is as follows:
Welcome and Announcements: God’s people having been gathered, they are welcomed by the pastor. Worship guests are acknowledged by gifts from the Board of Deacons. Announcements are then made, while those present (members and guests) sign the Friendship pads (sometimes known as ‘Attendance Registers’.) All are asked to join for coffee and refreshments following worship. Members and visitors are reminded of dates and times of important events. Additional announcements, which vary from one Sunday to another, are shared.
Minute for Mission: Every now and then, emphasis on a particular aspect of our ministry is given following the welcome and the announcements. This is usually done by one of our church members, elders, or deacons.
Prelude: special organ music to usher us into worship.
The Call to Worship (the congregation is called to prepare for worship). The purpose of the call to worship according to an article by a pastor is:
- To direct the minds of worshippers toward God.
- To remove distractions from the attention of the congregation.
- To call for participation of the congregation in all that transpires.
- To invite to unity all the people assembled.
- To create the proper attitude or atmosphere for worship.
Hymn of Meditation: It follows the “Call to Worship” as a way of reflecting on the purpose of worship. This hymn affirms God’s presence, blessings, and promises. The purpose of this hymn is to invite us to experience God’s presence and to direct our focus toward him.
The Creed: This is recited in unison and taken from our Book of Confessions. It serves as a unifying factor of all who are gathered as they proclaim what they believe and as a reminder of who they are in Jesus Christ.
The Prayer of Confession: Having affirmed what we believe, we then unite in seeking God’s mercy through the forgiveness of our sins, shortcomings and offences to God, to self, to one another, and to the whole world.
The Celebration of Forgiveness: This is an affirmation that God has indeed forgiven and restored us. In recognition and in celebration of God’s forgiveness, we are encouraged to live as ‘`children of light’. The call to repentance is implied in the celebration.
The Gloria Patri: Having been assured of our forgiveness, the congregation then rejoices as they sing this choral response in gratitude to God for the forgiveness of sins.
The Anthem: This is special music sung by the choir or by a soloist as an illustration of two facts:
- Our voices are a gift from God to be used for God’s glory.
- We are now joyfully ready to hear and apply God’s Word, as the choir inspires in us a desire to reflect on and heed the Word of God.
Pastoral (or congregational Prayer) followed by the Lord’s Prayer: The congregation joins the pastor in the prayer for the people, the church, the community, the country and the world. Then voices are combined as we pray together the Prayer that Jesus patterned for his disciples.
Children’s Sermon: This is the time children are gathered in the front of the sanctuary to hear a special message for them.
Scripture Reading of both the Old and the New Testaments are read next to each other. The chosen texts usually follow a lectionary, which assigns the focus of preaching on any given Sunday.
The Sermon: This is the part of the worship service that is the center of Reformed worship. It is known in the Reformed tradition as “the proclamation of the Word.” A good sermon is one in which the congregation feels that God has spoken to them. The Bible is the main source of hearing the church’s message. A good sermon is one that teaches, encourages and helps the listener to respond positively to what was shared.
Communion is administered once monthly. Only pastors and elders may distribute the communion elements. Communion is for all “who may come.” Believers from non-Presbyterian churches may also partake from it. Communion invites all of God’s people including children to the table of fellowship and remembrance.
Hymn of Dedication (or of Celebration.) This is usually a hymn that applies the lesson communicated in the sermon.
The Charge and the Benediction: Here the pastor dismisses the congregation with a word of encouragement, exhortation and God’s blessing. The pastor’s blessing on God’s people as they depart into the world to serve and witness.