All are welcome to all worship services at Bethel United Church of Christ. Child care is available for infants through 4 years of age during Sunday services.
The Church at Worship (Sundays, 9:30 a.m.)
The congregation gathers for worship in the Sanctuary with the sound of the steeple bell pealing across the rolling farmlands of Freedom Township. Worship at Bethel Church includes the four movements that usually shape Christian worship: "The Gathering," "The Word," "The Response," and "The Sending."
The congregation is "gathered" by a responsive Call to Worship and Opening Hymn during which the pastor and the choir (when participating) process into the church. This procession is a symbol of our common movement deeper into the presence of God through worship. The congregation next offers a unison Prayer of Confession in which we acknowledge our humanity, our sinfulness. The pastor then speaks words assuring worshippers of God's grace and forgiveness in response to honest confession. In response to this assurance, we offer one another the right hand of fellowship and the Peace of Christ.
One or more passages of Holy Scripture are read each Sunday, usually by a reader who is a member of the congregation, a sign that the Bible belongs not only to the clergy, but to the whole church. At Bethel, Sunday Scripture readings generally follow the Common Lectionary, an annual cycle of suggested Bible readings shared by multiple denominations worldwide. The Children's Message and Sermon that follow aim to illuminate the eternal truth of Scripture as it pertains to our particular time and place and to apply that truth to the challenges of modern life.
On the first Sunday of each month and on most special days in the Christian calendar, the Sacrament of Holy Communion is observed. All baptized Christians, regardless of their church or denominational affiliation, who would but humbly put their trust in Christ are invited to participate.
In the sacrament of Holy Communion, also called the Lord's Supper or Eucharist, meaning "thanksgiving," Christians hear, taste, touch and receive the grace of God revealed through Jesus Christ in a unique way.
Worshippers respond to the gift of the word in the sung praise of the anthem and by the offering of our time, talents, and resources to the work and mission outreach of Christ's church.
At the conclusion of the service of worship, the congregation is "sent out" with a Recessional Hymn and a Benediction to bear the love and truth of Jesus Christ to the world.
The United Church of Christ Book of Worship reminds us that "the invitation and the call [to the supper] celebrate not only the memory of a meal that is past, but an actual meal with the risen Christ that is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet at which Christ will preside at the end of history."