Sunday Worship at First Church is at 10:00AM. It lasts until about 11:00, and has something worshipful and meaningful for just about everyone. If you want to worship onsite at First Church, we encourage you to be vaccinated against COVID 19. While in the sanctuary or the hallways of the building, please wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth and observe safe social distances. Our team of First Friends (hospitality ministry) will help you find a seat and offer you any instructions you may need, about participating in worship or finding your way around the building.
If you have come as a group with children, our Sunday School is in session, year-round, and newcomers are always welcome. Young people begin in worship. After a brief “Not for Children Only” message, they may go with their teachers to classes elsewhere in the building. On the first Sunday of a month, they return to worship when communion is served. On fifth Sundays, classes are out of session, and we have worship for all ages. On other Sundays, adults may either meet their children at their classroom, or in Memorial Hall (see below).
Worship is followed by a time together we call Coffee Fellowship. It’s conducted in Memorial Hall, a banquet space at the south end of the building. Light refreshments are provided, and in deference to this, those in attendance are permitted to unmask while in the space.
A lot of our worship will seem familiar and traditional to people who have been used to attending mainline Christian churches. We say responsive and unison prayers. We sing out of hymnals and use a printed bulletin, so there usually isn’t anything being projected on a wall or screen. There’s an organ and choirs, and the pastor most often wears a robe while leading worship.
That said, the ways in which we do the traditional are creative and refreshing.
It might be that you’ll attend one of our services that include contributions from classical, jazz, blues, or rock and roll artists. Maybe you will arrive on a Sunday when we have puppets telling the story of the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem. Or perhaps our Advent-time Jesse Tree will captivate your heart, with its small works of art hailing the coming of the Messiah. During Lent we have been known to illustrate the journey to the Cross with a diorama of the wilderness Jesus wandered at the beginning of his ministry. We hope you will admire our hanging displays of liturgical art.
Praising God and sharing in the beauty of the Creator can take many different forms, after all. Yes, something special is always in store when you worship at First Church.
Communion (Sacrament of Christ’s Table)
Communion is served on the first Sunday of each month and on the holy days of Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday. Ours is an open table; there is no religious test or requirement. Anyone who wishes to participate may do so.
Furthermore, our communion table is the only one we know of in St. Louis with strictly gluten-free bread. (And it’s delicious.) And the fruit of the vine is provided in two kinds – wine and grape juice, so that no one should be turned away.
Most times, communion is served as people are seated in their pews. Children participate in communion at the discretion of the adults they are with. Bread is served first and cup afterward, in two movements directed by the presiding minister.
During the summer months and on the holy days mentioned, communion is served by intinction, with worshipers proceeding forward to receive the bread, dip it in grape juice, and consume. On intinction Sundays, those who do not wish to receive (and little children whose parents prefer them not to) may come to the minister for a blessing instead.
Services for Healing and Wholeness
At least three times a year on Sunday mornings, we conduct worship as a service for healing and wholeness. Worshipers participate to the extent they are comfortable and may receive an anointing with oil and pray one-on-one with a Healing Team member trained by our Center for Counseling and Healing.
Each service of healing and wholeness is designed to help individuals feel a sense of God’s power in and for their lives on their path to wellness. The purpose is not to cure anyone; that’s a doctor’s job assisting their patient. Instead, we invoke the Holy Spirit who can establish shalom (God’s peace and wholeness).
Seasons of First Church
We observe the customary Christian Year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Times.