YOUR FIRST VISIT
Welcome to Ithaca Pres! We are excited you're considering joining us for worship this Sunday. We know that it is hard to think about joining a new church and that sometimes the little unknowns can prevent you from trying something new.
This page will orient you to our service order, and about basic things like where to park and where bathrooms and changing tables are located. The goal is to help you find your way into our community with as much information as you need to know. As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to e-mail or call the church office. See you Sunday!
WHAT TO WEAR
We have wide range of attire you'll see on a given Sunday. Some wear suits, others wear slacks, others shorts and t-shirts. We have no dress code and enforce no ideals about attire for worship. Come to worship God, not to wear a suit or fancy dress. We are a community that has a range of socio-economic backgrounds and as such, we welcome all no matter how much or how little they are dressed up.
You can park in the large parking lot on the west side of the church (it's labeled Gratiot County Parking). Enter through either the portico door off the parking lot, or head around and up the handicap-accessible ramp to the glass door. The sanctuary is at the east end of the hallway and greeters will be there to be sure you have an order for worship and anything else you need for the worship service.
WHERE TO SIT
Our sanctuary does not have reserved seats, so sit anywhere you like! If you have small children, they might benefit from sitting closer to the front so they can see all the wonderful symbols that are a part of our worship. Wherever you sit, you'll be next to friendly faces who will introduce themselves to you and welcome you to our congregation.
BATHROOMS + CHANGING TABLES
A family-restroom is located in our "Fireplace Room" on the same level as the sanctuary. It has a changing table and is handicap-accessible. We also have restrooms located at the bottom of the stairs down into the basement.
WHEN DO I STAND OR SIT?
Our order for worship is thorough and complete and provides you with everything you need to know to participate, including notes about when to stand and when to sit. Even still, Rev. Novak will give oral instructions throughout the service, so have no fear, you won't be left behind!
THE ORDER FOR WORSHIP
Below you'll see a standard order for our Sunday worship. Occasionally, this order changes, but most weeks it looks very similar. We have a traditional Reformed liturgy but we try to fill it with life, exuberance, and conviction. On the first Sunday of the month, we celebrate the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and all present are invited to join in its reception. Come and worship with us!
Welcome and Announcements
Celebrating God's Presence
Call to Worship
Prayer of Confession
Assurance of Pardon
Passing of the Peace
Prayer for Illumination
Reading of Scripture
Hymn of Response
Sharing of Joys and Concerns
Prayers of the People
Charge to the Baptized
Blessing of the Congregation
We greet one another using the ancient biblical formula: The Lord be with you / And also with you.
Rev. Joseph Novak makes some brief announcements about our community events.
We light candles, ring bells, and open the Bible as tangible symbols of God's presence with us today.
Our choral ensemble sings a brief passage of a hymn or song to help us transition to worship.
We are summoned to worship God through the words of Scripture.
We sing from our hymnal Lift Up Your Hearts a hymn that reminds us who God is.
Here we confess our sins out loud, pausing for a brief silent prayer at the end.
We sing the ancient words "Lord, have mercy / Christ, have mercy", as a sign of our trust in Christ.
We hear biblical words of assurance, reminding us that in Christ, God has forgiven us from our sins.
We sing these words with gladness and joy, having been reminded of God's action to forgive us our sin.
We warmly share the peace of Christ (saying: "Peace be with you") to our neighbors. This tends to go on for a long while—we're always excited to pass the peace with one another!
The children gather in the front with Rev. Novak for a special word for them. Object lessons abound!
We pray a special prayer asking God to open the Scriptures and help us understand its words in our lives.
We read between three and five scripture passages, psalms included, each week.
Rev. Novak preaches a biblically-rooted sermon that lasts between fifteen and twenty minutes.
We sing a hymn, responding to the Scripture and the Sermon.
We give our gifts of money and tithes as a sign that God has been faithful to us in meeting our needs.
We bless God by calling one another to praise him!
We share those events and issues in our lives which cause us joy and concern and we pray for them together.
We pray for the world, the church, and the people of our community.
We join in offering the prayer Jesus taught us to pray. We say "debts" instead of "transgressions."
We sing a closing hymn of dismissal.
Those among us who are baptized are charged to live out their baptisms this week.
All who are in worship receive a blessing from God.
We are sent out to love and serve the Lord!
**-Children are dismissed at this point to nursery care or to sunday school.