Worship at St. Paul’s United Church (SPUC) takes places in many places and at many times including our Sunday services, quiet services, through outreach and friendly visiting, fellowship, special events and so much more.
Public worship is conducted both by clergy and laity in our tradition. It demands care in preparation and delivery. Leaders are mindful of their high calling and of the value of public worship for the congregation. As a community of friends and strangers, people are invited to involve themselves in a service, thus joining the group in its common offering to God.
One of the ways we share our public worship is through the weekly recordings of our Sunday services.
You can hear our Sunday Services recordings below.
What are the Elements of Public Worship at SPUC?
The Prelude is a time of gathering of focusing thoughts on God and away from the outside world. The music, whether arrangements of hymn tunes or free works, is chosen to reflect the mood of the service and any seasonal aspects.
The Call to Worship calls us to gather as one to honour God as God’s community.
The Opening Hymn is usually a hymn of praise which will also reflect special times in the church year.
The Candlelighting symbolizes Christ the Light of the World present in our worship.
The Prayer of Approach gathers us together and opens our spirits to God’s Spirit in our midst.
The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer of the early church and links us with Christians everywhere.
The Children’s Story helps make our youngest members feel more at home among us and introduces major themes of Christian life and belief.
Hymns are chosen to reflect the text of the Gospel lesson and to support the sermon.
The Readings of Scripture tell the story of faith. Lessons and psalms give us the breadth of the tale. Our lessons usually come from a selection of passages forming a Lectionary. Christians all over the world follow the church year (Advent to Pentecost) from the same texts, in a three year cycle. Sometimes the reading aren’t from the Lectionary but are chosen to reflect a special event or something happening in the community.
The Anthem is chosen on the theme of the day or as a general praise anthem. “Anthem” is a Middle Ages corruption of the word “antiphon” or refrain.
The Sermon introduces the Scriptures and the people to each other. The whole congregation is engaged in the preaching, because the sermon takes place in the ear of the hearer.
The Minute for Mission connects us with the work of the wider church through the United Church of Canada’s Mission and Service Fund.
The Offering of our Life and Work is the high point in public worship. Having been cleansed an having heard God’s word, we respond by offering ourselves to God in a variety of ways.
The Offertory is sung during the presentation of our gifts. It praises God and acknowledges our purpose in making our offering.
The Offertory Prayer is a way of acknowledging to God that all of our gifts are first gifts from God.
The Prayers of the People gather our gratitude to God, our concerns for the world, and our high hopes, in faith, for the work of ministry.
The Closing Hymn is a commissioning hymn or a summary of the message of the day.
The Commissioning and Benediction send us out to live our faith and to carry’s God spirit within and without.
The Blessing or Choral Amen is the peoples’ response to the commissioning and benediction.
The Postlude is the ending of our formal worship and the beginning of our ministry to each other and to the world.
Some things that happen occasionally in our Public Worship include:
The Introit is a choral “call to worship” which reflects the opening of worship and/or the theme of the day.
The Prayer of Confession acknowledges God’s holy nature and presence and names our nature and needs. We confess these things before God and our fellow worshippers.
A Silence for private prayer.
The Assurance of Pardon reminds us of God’s gift of a new start.
The Affirmation of Faith (speaking a common Creed) allow us to be as one.
(We gratefully acknowledge Picton United Church and their Elements of Worship handout as a reference for this page.)