Sunday service

Bells summon the faithful. Sometimes the officiant and assistants process into the church behind the cross during an opening hymn that reflects the service’s theme and the season.

The first words spoken are “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”, as the officiant and congregation greet each other in the name of the Lord.

The officiant then introduces the theme and leads the congregation in a general confession, after which he or she proclaims the forgiveness of sins. The congregation responds by saying or singing “Amen”.

Three readings follow, the first from the Old Testament and the second from the New Testament. The final reading is the Gospel, which is read by a pastor and often forms the basis of the sermon. The Gospel follows the hymn of the day, which connects with the Gospel’s theme.

Following the sermon, the congregation recites the creed. As the intercessions are offered, the people pray for the church and for the world, for the recently baptised and departed, and for those recently married or preparing for marriage.

The Ministry of the Sacrament begins with the offertory hymn, during which there is a collection. The bread and wine are then blessed in the eucharistic prayer, and the ancient hymns Sanctus and Agnus Dei are sung. The officiant extends the greeting of peace to the congregation.

All confirmed members of the Church may receive Holy Communion. Children may receive it if the importance of Holy Communion has been explained to them and they are accompanied by an adult. Alternatively, they may receive a blessing. Prayers and hymns of thanksgiving follow administration of Holy Communion.

The service ends with a blessing, after which a closing hymn may be sung. The congregation may be sent into the world with words such as “Go in peace and serve the Lord with gladness.” The service is often followed by a time of informal fellowship.

Young people in a church.