Worship @ Southminster

Presbyterians come together for worship to praise and honor God, and to acknowledge God’s glory and power.  Our worship has a long history and Presbyterians worship in many different styles, from the innovative and contemporary to the very formal and traditional.  Wherever you go to a Presbyterian church you are likely to find some common elements and a familiar feel.


Worship at Southminster could be called “liturgical,” meaning that we follow a service bulletin and pray together from printed texts.  There is a sameness from week to week that gives our worship a rhythm that becomes comforting and familiar to the worshipers.  Even with a somewhat stable form of worship, we seek the freedom of the Spirit.  As Jesus said, true worship is characterized by both Spirit and Truth.


For the first-time visitor, our service may be a little confusing.  We stand to sing hymns and we sometimes sing responses during communion.  Some of these things may surprise and challenge a first-time visitor.  However, liturgical worship can be compared with a dance: once you learn the steps, you come to appreciate the rhythm, and it becomes satisfying to dance, again and again, as the music changes.


Our Order of Worship

In spite of a diversity of worship styles in the Presbyterian Church (USA), you will find these things in common: scripture, prayer, music, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and offerings.  Our services have a flow.

  • We gather with a call to worship (usually from the Psalms), a hymn of praise to God, and a prayer of confession.  We hear the Good News that Christ has forgiven us, and we spend time greeting one another and exchanging words of peace.

  • We read from the Bible, listen to an anthem or other special music, and spend time talking to the children about the message for the day.  A sermon that interprets and applies the Bible text is also preached.

  • We respond to what we have heard by singing another hymn and by reciting a summary of what we believe (usually the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed).  The pastor offers a prayer on behalf of the congregation—for the Church, the World, and those in need. We pray for the sick and we thank God for all the good things in our lives.  Finally, we respond by giving our offerings to further the work of Christ in our world.

  • Occasionally we celebrate a baptism (a sign and symbol of inclusion in God’s grace and covenant).  On the first Sunday of each month we also celebrate the Lord’s Supper (a sign and seal of eating and drinking in communion with the crucified and risen Lord).  All who have been baptized (in any church) are welcome to participate and receive the Lord’s Supper.  We believe that the Table is not a right conferred upon the worthy, but a privilege given to the undeserving who come in faith, repentance, and love.  Usually a plate with the bread is distributed first.  We wait to partake of the bread until we can all eat it together, symbolizing our unity as the body of Christ.  Small cups are distributed and each person may drink immediately upon receiving.  We offer only grape juice (not wine) for communion.  Occasionally we may invite everyone who wishes to take communion to come forward to break a piece of bread off of a common loaf and dip it into a common cup (or chalice) prior to eating.  We call this way of receiving the Lord’s Supper “intinction.”

  • We sing a final hymn and receive a charge (or commission) and benediction (or blessing) before departing to continue our life of service to God and our neighbors.