Worship Guide

In worship we pray, we sing, and we reflect. We practice our faith. We practice confessing. We practice forgiveness. We practice hospitality. We practice generosity. We learn to be God’s people.

In worship, we open our hearts to God. We are shaped by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Sometimes joyful and sometimes somber, worship always aims to be thoughtful, honest and hopeful.

If you are new to Christian worship (or simply new to this church), our manner of worship may be unfamiliar. This guide invites you into full participation in our service by explaining
what we do and why we do it. 

We hope you will come again next Sunday, and the next, and that eventually you will feel at home here. May you find rest for your soul in this house of God.

As the organist begins to play, we gather and prepare our hearts and minds for worship. During this time, some quietly speak with friends, others listen to the music, and some pray. At this time, we ask everyone to silence cell phones and other electronic devices. For the next hour, we invite you to give yourself (and the people sitting around you) a Sabbath rest from the demands of the world.

In singing, we praise God and deepen our faith. Most of the hymns we sing can be found in the red hymnal in the pew rack in front of you. We usually stand (as we are able) when we sing. We also sing brief responses to prayers and other acts of worship. These short songs find a home in our hearts. We carry these musical prayers with us everywhere we go.

Every week, we confess our sins. We have all done things that have hurt others and distanced us from God’s will. After we make our confession, one of the clergy pronounces an “Assurance of Pardon”—a reminder that God forgives us completely and loves us beyond our imagining.

The Peace
Throughout the Bible, the most common greeting shared by people of faith is, “Peace be with you.” We continue this tradition. Every Sunday, we greet friends, welcome newcomers, and share the peace of Christ with one other.

Anthems & Solos
Through sacred music, we encounter the holy. At FAPC, we experience organ, choral, vocal and instrumental music from many historic periods and cultures, including contemporary music. These selections reflect our diverse community even as they honor the rich traditions and heritage of this historic church.

Just as the pulpit is the focal point of the Sanctuary, the hearing and preaching of the Word provides focus to our worship. We listen and reflect on our faith as the pastor reads from Scripture and then makes relevant connections between God’s Word and the world in which we live.

Affirmation of Faith
Together we give voice to our faith by reciting one of the ancient Christian creeds (such as The Apostles’ Creed), or a passage from the Bible, or perhaps a portion of a more contemporary statement of faith from the Presbyterian Book of Confessions. In this moment we connect with a rich tradition that challenges Christians to answer this question: What is my faith calling to me to say and do, given the world in which I live?

Prayers of the People
We offer our concerns and hopes up to God. We pray together for members of this community, for the city and country in which we live, and for the world that God loves.

The Offering
We give back to God. The monetary offerings of our members and visitors fund our shelter for the homeless, our Sunday school, mission projects in Africa and the Philippines, staff salaries and the electric bill. We give to make church happen, to change peoples lives, and to act out of the generosity that fills our hearts when we contemplate the One who has given us life and grace and love.

In baptism, we welcome new Christians (both children and adults) into the family of faith. We do this by pouring water on their heads and blessing them, a practice that echoes the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. Baptism is one of two sacraments in the Presbyterian tradition (the other is Communion). Presbyterians describe baptism as a sign and seal of the grace of God. In baptism God claims us as beloved children. Baptism is a communal sacrament. Together, the congregation commits to supporting these new Christians in their life of faith. At FAPC, baptisms take place on the second or third Sunday of the month.

On the first Sunday of the month, we celebrate the Sacrament of Communion (known in some traditions as the Eucharist). We re-tell the story of Jesus sharing bread and wine with his disciples at the last supper. Then we share the “bread of life” and the “cup of salvation” with one other. Through this simple and beautiful act of public worship, we are connected to Christ and to all who sit at his table—those who come from east and west, north and south, to feast in the kingdom of God.

At the conclusion of the service, we are blessed and sent back into the world, encouraged by the good news, empowered to be God’s people, and eager to be about God’s work.

Your children, no matter what their age, are always welcome in worship.

Our ushers are happy to provide a worship bag full of activities and gifts.

If you have young children, a Family Room is available should you need to slip out to change a diaper, use the restroom, nurse, or care for a fussy child. This room is equipped with a livestream of the service, toys, books, a restroom and a changing table.

Bless you! You are certainly blessing your children by bringing them to worship. You have taken a crucial step in their spiritual development by engaging your faith together!


  • From the Sanctuary: It is most convenient to sit in the front right section of the Sanctuary for proximity to the Family Room. Exit the double doors to the right of the pulpit, and the Family Room is on your right.
  • From Kirkland Chapel: We encourage you to sit toward the rear of the Chapel for quickest access to the Family Room. Exit to the lobby, where the staff at the reception desk can point you to the Family Room, which is located off the north end of the Gallery.

Children’s + Youth Programming
Family Ministries at FAPC offers several options for your family on Sunday morning, including:

  • A nursery for infants and toddlers, in the Christian Education Center (CEC). Professional childcare staff are on site from 9 am until the end of the 11 am service.
  • Sunday School for children from pre-K to fifth grade, and Youth Group for middle and high schoolers, also in the Christian Education Center. All classes take place from 9:30 – 10:30 am.
  • Children’s Church for children from pre-K to third grade. About 15 minutes into the 11 am service, we invite the children to come forward, where our staff meet them and lead them downstairs for their own time of worship. If this is your child’s first time in Children’s Church, please fill out the purple ID tag you will find in the pew and affix it to your child’s back.You may drop off and pick up your child throughout the morning in the Christian Education Center. The CEC is on the lower level of the Church House, accessible by elevator and stairs.