Worship Practices
All baptized Christians, who believe Christ is present in the bread and wine, are welcome to receive Holy Communion at St. John's Lutheran Church. Open hands outstretched together, left hand over right hand, is the sign that you are prepared to receive communion.

If you are not baptized or do not wish to receive communion, you are invited to come forward for a blessing. Crossing your arms across your chest is the sign you would like a blessing.

Do I Need to Be A Member to Receive Communion at St. John's?

You do not need to be a member of St. John’s to receive Communion. To be a member at St. John’s means that you have committed yourself to God’s work through St. John's. If you have any questions, please talk to Pastor Perry prior to the service.

How Do You Serve Communion?

We serve Communion either of two ways.

On the first and third Sundays of the month:

At the direction of the ushers, you are invited to come forward and kneel at the altar rail, if you are able. While kneeling, you are presented with a wafer, which you place on your tongue. You are then offered the wine, which you drink.

The wine is served in a small glass and you may choose either red wine or non-alcoholic grape juice (the lighter colored liquid).

On the second, fourth and fifth Sundays of the month:

On those Sundays of the month, Communion is served by Intinction. You are invited to come forward via the center aisle. You are presented with the wafer, which you hold in your hand. You move to the Communion assistant and dip the wafer in either the red wine or the lighter colored grape juice. It is then that you place the wafer on your tongue and swallow it.

On the way to receive communion in either way, you are invited to dip a finger into the water of the baptismal font and make the sign of the cross on your forehead to remember that you are baptized child of God.




What If I am Not Able to Come Forward to Receive Communion?

The pastor and the communion assistant will gladly come to your seat. If you or someone with you would like to receive communion where you are seated, please make you wishes known to an usher.

 
A liturgical church is one in which all the services, including the ”contemporary” service, have a set form. The basic form of worship is:

1. Gathering (Songs and Prayers)
2. Word (Scripture and Sermon)
3. Meal (Holy Communion)
4. Sending (Songs and Blessing to go and serve God and neighbor)

Liturgical worship prefers the words of worship to be from the Bible. For example, we greet each other with the words Paul used in 2 Corinthians 13:13: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” This is the main reason the words of worship do not change often; we want to be formed as God’s people by saying God’s Word.

This form goes back to Christian worship in the 2nd century. The Lutheran Churches join with their brothers and sisters in Christ in the Roman Catholic Church and the Episcopal Church to celebrate their common liturgy together. We work with other liturgical churches to have common language in our worship services. We express that we are one in Christ by using common words. Click on the button for more information.

The form for the 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. Sunday Services is found in the hymnal Evangelical Lutheran Worship. In addition to variations of Sunday worship services, you will find in the hymnal services for Baptism, Affirmation of Baptism, Marriage, and Burial of the Dead. The 11:00 a.m. Sunday Service follows the same form of worship but uses music accompanied by a band and words based on scripture that change each week.

In reality, most churches follow a set form for the simple reason that a church service, as an assembly of a group of people, has to have some form of order. In a non-liturgical church, the pastor and the congregation have greater degrees of freedom to define that form and allow for some spontaneity.  Doesn’t a Set Order for Service Make the Service Boring?

It’s possible that it can if you let it. Remember that your primary role as worshipper is to listen for God’s Word to you. God may speak to you through the scripture, sermon, hymns or prayers. This takes active listening and focus. We gather to worship in order to hear God, praise God, thank God, and ask God for what we need. We don’t worship to be entertained.

A fixed order doesn’t mean that each service will be an exact duplicate of another. Each pastor and congregation do have freedom to adapt the liturgy to their particular needs. Yes, there is sameness, but at the same time there is variety.

Does This Mean That Your Services are Stiff and Formal?

It may have meant that at one time, but as society has become less formal so have our church services. Today, a church service is an occasion to celebrate the love of God. Celebrations are joyous occasions and there are no rules in our church that prevent outward expressions of that joy. Laughter is frequently heard during our worship services. You are especially encouraged to laugh at the pastor’s jokes!

Our Contemporary Service at 11:00 A.M. is definitely not stiff and formal. Yet at the same time, we do follow the liturgy.

Occasions for Solemnity

Of course there are services that are solemn. Services during the season of Lent (usually beginning in February until Easter) ask us to recall Christ’s journey to the Cross and the sacrifices he made. On Good Friday, the Tenebrae Service, or the Service of Darkness, we rehearse Christ’s death on the Cross


 
We are a litergical Church