What to Expect

What to Expect

We know that thinking about visiting a new church can raise lots of questions. We also know that while the First Reformed UCC sanctuary is a big, beautiful, historic building, it’s hard to see what’s happening on the inside! On the other side of the big wooden doors, you’ll find a sanctuary full of light and a warm, welcoming church family happy that you’ve decided to visit with us.

When is the service and how long is it?

Our services typically run one hour on Sunday mornings from 11:00 am to Noon in the Sanctuary for most of the year.

In the summer months, we usually start earlier. Check the home page for details during the summer months.

Where do I park? Where do I go in the Sanctuary?

You can park in any of the lots behind the Sanctuary, the Fellowship Hall, or the Educational Building. You can also park on the street if the lots are full.

Enter the Sanctuary at the main door on E. Center Street.

In the summer, if we are worshiping in the Chapel, you can enter through the Fellowship Hall, the Education Building or the walkway in between the two buildings.

Will my family and I be welcomed at First Reformed UCC?

No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here! Please read our full Open and Affirming Welcoming Statement for more.

What is your style of worship? What is the preaching like?

Our style of worship is mostly traditional with a pipe organ or piano and a mix of hymns and songs sung by a choir and the congregation. The message is modern!

Pastor Elizabeth always puts the Scripture in the context of history, painting a picture of what it was like in Jesus’s time. But then she brings those lessons forward to today, helping us understand what it means to follow Christ in the 21st century.

One of the UCC’s mottos is “God is still speaking” and “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.” Helping us all interpret the Word of God for modern life and encouraging us to keep listening for God in our daily lives is central to our style of worship.

Watch a video of a recent service to see what we mean.

How will I know what to do? When do I sit, stand, sing, etc.?

When you enter the Sanctuary, you’ll be given a bulletin that includes the order of service. It’s very easy to follow along. The places where we ask you to stand as you are able have an *asterisk next to them.

Anything the congregation is asked to say out loud together will be in bold. You don’t need to memorize anything, just read along!

The congregation usually sings 2 or 3 hymns along with the choir. They are printed in the bulletin or in the hymnal that will be in front of you in the pew.

You can find bulletins from previous weeks in the Sermons section.

What should I wear?

You’ll see a mix that ranges from jeans to coat and tie. Most people are somewhere in between. Please do not feel like you have to force your children to dress up at all!

Is child care available?  I’m worried my kids will be noisy.

Yes. Every Sunday, two adults are assigned to the nursery to care for infants through kindergarteners. When you come into the Sanctuary, ask an usher (they have name tags on) to walk you over to the nursery in the Education Building. The Education Building remains locked during the entire service, but ushers can let you in as needed. Your child will remain there until you return to pick him or her up after the service.

If you prefer to keep your child with you, that’s fine too. If you want to leave the service to calm or soothe a baby or young child, there is a comfort area with a rocking chair, monitor and speaker behind the chancel. Just walk down the sides of the church toward the front and go through the doors on either side. You’ll also find bathrooms there.

Children over 6 are encouraged to attend the service with their parents. Ask an usher for a kid’s bag that contains crayons and other activities to help keep them busy. Feel free to bring your own books, drawing pads or other quiet toys to entertain them.

During the service, we have a special moment called “Young Disciples” where all youth, pre-K through 5th grade, are invited come to the front of the church and sit together in the front pew while Pastor Elizabeth shares a special kid-friendly lesson. Afterwards, children return to sit with their parents.

About once a month, the children will participate in a special Children’s Church or Kid’s Club, where they will leave after Young Disciples to go to the Educational Building with adult volunteers who will lead them in a special lesson or service project.

What about Communion?

We celebrate Communion several times a year. Everyone is invited to participate, including children. It does not matter if you have been baptized or confirmed in the church. Sometimes Pastor Elizabeth will ask the congregation to come to the front to receive Communion and sometimes the ushers will pass it through the pews while everyone remains seated. We use gluten-free bread and grape juice. There’s no pressure to participate in Communion if you’d rather not.

What else is happening at First Reformed UCC besides Sunday services?

Lots! First Reformed has several fellowship groups and is also very active in community service. Explore our website, read a recent monthly newsletter, and sign up for the weekly email update (below) to learn about everything going on. We promise to help you and your family find places to fit right in.

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