Welcome to a Sunday morning worship service at Heidelberg!
Children are welcome, and encouraged, to be in the sanctuary during worship services. We do have a nursery available, however, if you need one. As you enter the doors from the parking lot at the rear of the church, you will be greeted by someone who will be happy to direct you to the nursery, rest rooms, and sanctuary entrance, or will answer any questions you may have.
If you have small children, you will find our bright, cheerful nursery down the hall to your left. The nursery provides a convenient place for diaper changes, and is staffed most Sundays. If you find your child needs a little “time out” during the service, you are welcome to stay in the nursery with him or her. The audio portion of the service is fed into the nursery, so you can follow what’s going on in the sanctuary.
As you move through the narthex toward the entrance of the sanctuary, you will see the large bell that once hung in the bell tower of our original church building on Lincoln Avenue in Hatfield. The bell is rung (gently!) at the beginning of each worship service to signify the beginning of the worship hour. This is followed by a musical prelude, which provides a few moments for silent meditation and the opportunity to set aside the distractions of the outside world, and to find God’s peace in preparation for worship.
Our friendly ushers will help you find a seat!
Our worship services rely on the active participation of the congregation. The opening part of the service, as well as the portion following the reading of scripture and the Pastor’s sermon, include liturgical elements, such as the Call to Worship or Morning Prayer, that are “responsive.” That is, the Pastor leads with an opening sentence, and the congregation responds with the text that is printed in the bulletin for that week.
While the active participation of the congregation is important, that participation is, for the most part, scripted in the bulletin. We tend not to be overly spontaneous, but when someone is particularly moved, applause or a resounding “Amen” is not out of line!
The opening portion of the service also includes a responsive Prayer of Confession, and Words of Assurance from the Pastor. Unlike some other churches, which tie the act of confession to communion, or require confessions to take place through an intercessor, we make it part of our weekly communal practice. This serves as a reminder that we ALL are surrounded by the temptations of the world, that we ALL give in to those temptations at one time or another, and that God welcomes our confession whenever we recognize that we have a need to confess. We also hope that it helps our congregants to establish an on-going conversation with God, leading to a deeper, more profound relationship with our Creator and Savior.
We also like to sing! We usually sing several hymns, with organ accompaniment. We use hymnals, rather than a projection device as some churches do. Our chancel choir usually also presents an anthem, and we have other special music from time to time. The worship service is carefully crafted by the Pastor and the Minister of Music to provide a meaningful worship experience. The core of the service is the reading of scripture, often by a lay reader, and the presentation of a sermon by the Pastor. All the other elements that surround these two items provide a framework to support the proclamation of God’s Word.