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Life Events

Welcome to First Pres, where life’s milestones are celebrated with grace and reverence. Our core messaging is “Bringing the light of faith to all” and we do that for all services from baptism and communion to weddings to funerals.

Communion

What is the meaning of Communion for Presbyterians?

Communion, also known as “The Lord’s Supper” and “The Eucharist,” is one of two sacraments observed by First Pres (the other is baptism). In this sacrament, the bread and juice, the words and actions make the promises of God visible and concrete. Christ is especially present in the gathered church.

At the Lord’s Table, the Church is

  • renewed and empowered by the memory of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and promise to return;
  • sustained by Christ’s pledge of undying love and continuing presence with God’s people;
  • sealed in God’s covenant of grace through partaking of Christ’s self-offering.

As the people of God bless and thank God, remembering Jesus Christ the Son, they call upon the Holy Spirit through communion to:

  • lift them into Christ’s presence;
  • bind them with Christ and with one another;
  • unite them in communion with all the faithful in heaven and on earth;
  • nourish them with Christ’s body and blood that they may mature into the fullness of Christ;
  • keep them faithful as Christ’s body, loving and serving God, one another, and their neighbors in the world

Who may participate in the Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper?

The invitation to the Lord’s Supper is extended to all, remembering that access to the Table is not a right conferred upon the worthy, but a privilege given to the undeserving who come in faith, repentance, and love. Even one who doubts or whose trust is wavering may come to the Table in order to be assured of God’s love and grace in Christ Jesus. Not baptized, yet feel the Spirit moving you to partake of communion? Please do, and prayerfully consider that the Spirit may be calling you to also be baptized and join the church. No one shall be excluded because of race, sex, age, economic status, social class, handicapping condition, difference of culture or language, or any barrier created by human injustice. Coming to the Lord’s Table, the faithful are actively to seek reconciliation in every instance of conflict or division between them and their neighbors.

When is The Lord’s Supper celebrated at First Pres?

  • At the 10:30 am worship service, every Sunday.
  • At the 9:30 am summer worship service, every Sunday.

Communion is served by intinction meaning people are invited to tear off a piece of bread from the loaf (or take a piece of pita bread) and dip it into the cup of grape juice and then eat it. A gluten-free option is available. There are also sealed communion elements if preferred. At the 10:30 (and 9:30) service, people are invited to come forward via the center aisle to the communion servers at the front of the sanctuary, receive the bread and juice, and move back to their seats by the side aisles.

For more information on communion.

Baptism

What is the Meaning of Baptism for Presbyterians?

Baptism is one of two sacraments observed by First Pres. (the other is communion). For both children and adults, baptism is the sign and seal that God loves us long before we can love God. Baptism is a proclamation and experience of the fact that we are who we are because God has first chosen us and loved us and called us into God’s kingdom.

To the question, “Who am I?” baptism responds, “I am the one who is called, washed, named, promised, and commissioned” by God through Christ. Each time an infant is baptized, we are reminded that God’s love claims people before they are able to respond in faith. Regardless of the age, every baptism marks the beginning of new life through Jesus Christ.

Baptism does not change our relationship with God. Rather it recognizes and proclaims what is already a fact – we are God’s children. It is to be motivated neither by superstition nor social custom but by faith. It is not a private act of pastor and family, but a public act of the congregation who make promises to the person baptized. Therefore, it is administered in the presence of the worshipping congregation, except in very special cases.

Baptism unites the people of God with each other and with the church of every time and place. Barriers of race, gender, status, and age are to be transcended. Barriers of nationality, history, and practice are to be overcome. There is no need to be re-baptized in the Presbyterian Church.

How do I get started planning a baptism at First Pres?

If you seek to baptize a child, first become a member of First Pres: In order for baptism to have integrity, only parents committed to nurturing their children within the household of faith should have their children baptized. Ordinarily, one or both parents shall be active members of First Pres. Likewise, the baptism of an adult signifies a commitment to the faith and a resolve to live by faith in Christ, in the First Pres community. In adult baptism the truth again is displayed that our salvation is by grace through faith not by any acts or good deeds done by the baptized. Adults are enrolled as active members. Children baptized will have the chance to confirm the answers given on their behalf by their parents/guardians. This “confirmation” happens around 9th grade at First Pres.

To schedule a baptism or learn more about baptism, speak with one of the Co-Pastors.

For more information about baptism.

Weddings

A wedding at First Pres is a Christian worship service. In our wedding service we acknowledge marriage as a gracious gift from God, and we celebrate with joy and gratitude the acceptance of this gift. Christian weddings affirm life together as a couple as well as responsible participation in the wide structures of family and human society. Thus it is appropriate that family and friends are invited to share in the couple’s commitment, celebration and happiness.

Since the wedding service is an act of Christian worship, all aspects including music and decoration, are part of this act of worship. Thus primary focus is to be on God’s blessing of the covenant being made. All elements—music, reading, etc.—must be appropriate to the occasion and approved by the presiding pastor and/or organist.

What is the first step?

All arrangements for weddings are made through the Office Administrator. The first step (before commitments for receptions, etc.) is to reserve a date and time for the wedding on the church calendar. When you contact the Office Administrator, they’ll also send you Marriage Service Guidelines, a booklet which will guide you through the process of holding your wedding service at First Pres.

Funerals

In the Presbyterian Church (USA), we refer to a Funeral or Memorial Service as a Service of Witness to the Resurrection. Except for compelling reasons, the Service of Witness to the Resurrection for a First Pres member should be held in the Sanctuary since it is an act of Christian worship.

Despite the name given to the service, it has a two-fold purpose. First we lift up the good news of the Christian faith. We praise and thank God for the knowledge that in life, as in death, we are in God’s hands. Second, we remember the person who has died, and we then offer our thanks to God for him or her as we commend our loved one into God’s eternal care. Members of the family are invited to participate in the service if that is their desire. Contact Pastor Glenn via phone or email to discuss funeral needs.

Special Services

Christmas Eve

The four weeks that lead up to Christmas Day are known in the church as the season of Advent. It is a time of hope and expectation as we await the Christ-child to once again be born in our midst. This expectation reaches its zenith on Christmas Eve, and so we gather for worship this day at 7:30 pm, though there is usually an extended prelude of outstanding music that begins around 7:15 pm. In this service we recall the predictions about his birth that were made by the prophets of old, and we re-tell the story of what happened just before his birth in Bethlehem, we rejoice at his birth, and we tell the story of what happened shortly after his birth. The service is patterned after the Service of Lessons and Carols made famous by the service in King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. Each part of the story from scripture is followed by a carol sung by the congregation or an anthem sung by the choir. The sanctuary is full of poinsettias and the Chrismon tree is alight.

There is no moment in the year quite like singing “Silent Night” while everyone holds a candle. Childcare is available during this service.

Christmas Day

“To you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) We celebrate the birth of our savior with worship at 11 am. This is a come-as-you-are service, even if you are still in your footie- pajamas! This service is loaded with Christmas carols, and the sermon is usually a story. Come and rejoice at the side of the newborn king.

Lenten mid-week Taizé Worship

The six weeks that lead up to Easter are known in the church as Lent. It is a time to make an extra effort to attend to one’s spiritual life, to examine one’s life and how it is being lived. This is to prepare for the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord. As part of our season of repentance and preparation, you are encouraged to attend the special Taizé services held on Wednesdays in Lent. The services begin at 6 pm and end at 6:45 and are followed by a light supper in the Rose Room. What is Taizé styled worship? This service is patterned after worship in the ecumenical community of Taizé. Their sung and silent participatory prayer services are designed for contemplation through music, song and silence. The brothers of Taizé explain, “Short chants, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character. Using just a few words, they express a basic reality of faith, quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being.” Scripture is read slowly, candles are to enhance contemplative worship. The different tempo of the Taizé service encourages us to break away from the hurried sense of our lives and breathe in the presence of Christ and community.

Maundy Thursday Worship

As part of our observance of the events of Holy Week, we gather for worship on Thursday at 7:30 pm, the day on which Jesus told his followers to remember him in the bread and cup. It is on this night that he is betrayed by one of his followers, deserted by the rest, and arrested by Roman soldiers. Recalling these events makes this service one of the most moving experiences of the church year. We first experience the wonderful intimacy of The Lord’s Supper; we then feel the opposite as our Lord is arrested and taken away from us. As the story of the desertion is told, the lights are dimmed and candles snuffed. We all depart in contemplative silence.

Good Friday

This is the day our Lenten observance has feared would come true. Our Lord, the one we’ve been following, has been killed on a cross. This solemn day is marked with worship at 7:30 pm. We hear the story of Jesus’ murder as told in scripture and in music. The format for this service varies from year to year, but it is always meaningful, humbling and moving for those who attend.

Easter

Easter is the grand celebration of the central truth of the Christian faith. Christians believe that at Easter, God vindicated a righteous person—Jesus—by raising him to new life! This act put God’s “stamp of approval” on Jesus’ teaching about compassion, helping the poor and loving one another. It means that Jesus is right about who God really is, namely, the loving parent whom Jesus referred to as “abba” or ‘dad.’ Thus Easter tells us that God is knowable. Christians also believe that we are raised right along with Jesus. Jesus is the first to be raised, and by faith we are also heirs to this new life. We are empowered to live a new life now in accord with the coming Kingdom of God, and we are granted eternal life after death. Easter is marked at the end of Holy Week, with its pathos and sorrow, making the joy of Easter all the greater. This context gives to Easter a portion of its meaning and power. The Easter service is powerfully joyful, with lilies in the chancel, special instruments—often a brass ensemble—and a congregational singing of “The Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.