From the first Sunday in June through the first Sunday in September there are two worship services, 8:00a.m. and 10:00a.m. Otherwise, we have the 10:00a.m. service year-round.
The 8:00a.m. service (June-September)
This is an outdoor worship service at Lighthouse Beach Park (click here for a map and directions). Dress is VERY casual. Come in your shorts and t-shirt (shoes optional). The music is all acoustic (there is no electricity at the beach)–with a mix of traditional and contemporary hymns, psalms and spiritual songs. So bring your friends and family. Bring your pets! Kids love this service (it must be the sand) and are encouraged to come, too. We gather at the edge of Lake Huron, just north of the Blue Water Bridges and the historic Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. First Sunday of each month is communion. You can’ t miss it. Just look for the cross.
The 10:00a.m. service (Year-round)
This is a traditional worship service with choir/special music/more traditional instrumentation like piano and organ. Although we will “blend” worship styles from time to time. Dress runs the spectrum. If you’re comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt–great! A button-down and khakis–great! Suit and tie–great! Nice dress and wide-brimmed hat? Great! The point is that you’re welcome no matter what you wear. You’ll be in good company any way you’re dressed. There’s childcare in our nursery for infants to two years of age and during the “school year” (September-May) we have a special program called G.I.F.T. (Growing In Faith Together) for pre-K to second grade that takes place during the sermon in worship. All children of God are welcome!
Doors directly accessing the sanctuary are available on 8th Street–both a north and south entrance with stairs. An elevator is available off of the north parking lot, in the courtyard area a short walk from the parking lot. The elevator accesses sanctuary, fellowship hall and, of course, the ground level/outside.
Other main entrance areas are found on the Wall Street side of the building, giving access to the parlor (where a closed-circuit television and couches are available for those not wishing, or able for any reason, to worship in the sanctuary).
Lots are available for parking at the west of the building, off of Wall Street–or at the north of the building, off of 8th Street.
A nursery, for infants through two years of age, is available to parents. It is located in the Christian Education wing of the building (readily accessible from the north parking lot), in room 112. Trained and certified staff members provide loving care for your little ones!
Christian Education is provided from September through May at 9:00a.m. for all ages.
Youth groups are available for 3-5 grades (Kids’ Crew) and 6-12 grades (SPARK). These meet each Wednesday from 5:30-7:15 September through May and break for the summer.
What happens during the service?
Our worship services reflect a commitment to the Reformed tradition. Click here for a more in-depth description of what this means.
A normal order of worship, or “liturgy” is as follows:
- We gather around the Word with a responsive call to worship (normally taken from a Psalm)
- We sing a hymn of praise to God
- We are reminded of our sin and shortcoming, of our God’s grace and forgiveness through Jesus as we pray our prayer of confession and are given an assurance of forgiveness
- We pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and wisdom as we hear from the Scriptures
- We hear the Word as we have Scripture read and interpreted in spoken word, song, drama, etc.
- We respond to the Word as we sing our praises to God in congregational hymns and choral offerings
- We return to God the gifts of the earth (money, tithes, offerings) and rededicate our lives to Christ’s service.
- We lift our prayers of joy and sorrow to God.
- We celebrate two sacraments: Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (also called “communion” or “Eucharist”)
- We are sent into the world to share the Word as we receive the charge and benediction
The service of worship is different for our beach services as it’s a very informal liturgy. Yet, it still reflects the commitment we have to the Reformed tradition and centrality of the Word of God. Scripture, prayers, hymns, passing of the peace (sharing with one another signs of fellowship & reconciliation through Christ), and offering opportunities to re-dedicate one’s life to the service of Jesus.
How does the congregation observe communion?
Many folk are familiar with what is called “pew communion”–a plate with individual pieces of bread, a tray with individual cups are passed along the pews by elders of the congregation. We observe this form of distribution frequently. But we also observe communion by “intinction”–inviting folk to process forward to the front of the sanctuary, receive a piece of bread, dip it into the cup and take both elements (bread and juice) together. This is perhaps the most ancient and familiar way of observing the sacrament for most Christians worldwide. And we are revisiting this practice periodically at First Pres.
We are aware that many traditions within the Christian church celebrate the sacrament of communion with real wine from fermented grapes. While Scriptural this is not a common practice at First Pres., and we use unfermented grape juice instead. Discussion has arisen as to revisiting the Scriptural and traditional practice of offering fermented grape juice, but currently this is not our practice.
We celebrate an open table at communion. This means that all who are baptized and trust in Jesus Christ are welcome to share in the sacrament, remembering that it is not a “right” conferred upon the worthy, but a “privilege” given to the undeserving. Taste and see that the Lord is good!
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