See For YourselfA Guided Tour of Worship at Lyndale UCC
When you walk in the door to the SpringHouse Ministry Center on 28th Street, you’ll be welcomed by a greeter from one of the three churches – like Linda in this picture. If you tell her you’re looking for Lyndale, she (and the sign) will tell you in which of the three sanctuary spaces we at Lyndale are currently worshiping. We rotate through each of the spaces throughout the year.
When You Walk In
When you find your way to the sanctuary, you might be the first one. Lyndalians are (in)famously on “Lyndale time,” aka, almost late. Grab a bulletin and a hymnal from the station just inside the door of the sanctuary and join the Sunday morning chit chat as we trickle in.
Kids in Worship
We are a pro-kids-in-worship community. They sit right up front at their own table, if they want, and participate in art projects and activities quietly with the help of an adult community leader. They also play some very important roles in the service, from collecting the offering to reading scripture and serving communion when they are ready. We also have Sunday School starting at 9:15am and childcare available for children under three during worship itself. Learn more here.
We lift our voices in song, no matter if we can carry a tune. Though it’s common for four part harmony to break out and break open our hearts. Our ministry of music is full of traditional hymns (with updated language), spirituals, folk songs, classical music and “secular” music that moves our souls. Our choir sings once each month and is always looking for fresh voices to join the fun.
Confession/Words of Assurance
At Lyndale, we practice confession each week. It’s not an exercise in shame as it has too often been used in wider Christian culture. Instead, it’s a practice of re-aligning ourselves with the Holy within us and our purpose in the world. Another way to put it is that confession is an opportunity to bring all our week’s “stuff” to Consciousness/God so that we can acknowledge where we have “missed the mark” as an inevitable part of being human. Confession is always paired with the Words of Assurance. These words remind us that no matter where we go or what we do, we cannot escape the great Love we call God. In classical Christian language, we are always forgiven.
Passing of the Peace
After our time of confession and words of assurance, we remind each other individually that God’s Peace is among us here and always. Just as Jesus greeted his own community, we too greet each other with the words, “Peace be with you,” or simply “peace.” At Lyndale, we pass an enthusiastic peace with many handshakes and hugs across the sanctuary. Don’t be surprised if this time lasts longer than you expect and you wind up making a friend.
We take the Bible far too seriously to take it literally at Lyndale. We also believe that God is still speaking, which means that we read what we call modern scripture and psalms in worship in addition to the Bible. You are likely to hear some Mary Oliver poetry or an excerpt of the day’s newspaper story paired with the Bible story of the day.
We believe we all have capacity to preach, to make meaning of the world and the scriptures. Our pastor preaches most often (she’s got a few years more training that most of us!), but we share the pulpit with community social justice leaders as well members of our own community who have stories that can help us all evolve our spiritual lives and build the Realm of God here and now.
Prayers of the People
This is the time when we pray together aloud (or in silence if you are more comfortable), lifting up the brokenness of our lives, our communities and our world to the Divine. We also return our gratitude and joy to their source, to the great Love of the Universe, as we offer prayers of praise. And then we pray an inclusive version of the prayer that Jesus taught us, as written in the New Zealand book of common prayers (don’t worry, it’s printed in your bulletin and nobody knows it by heart!).
There are probably as many understandings of Communion as there are people at church on any given Sunday. We all bring our own stories of this holy meal to the table, which is part of the beauty of it.
Most importantly, we practice an open communion, which means that you do not need to be a member of this church or any community of faith to join us at the table. We believe that Christ is the host and Christ welcomes ALL.
We believe that all of our gifts (time, talent and treasure) are on loan from the Holy One, in our care to make the world a more just and loving place for all. Each week there is an offering — a time to remember the purpose of our gifts and to give some of them back to the Source of Abundance, with Lyndale as the conduit.
Coffee hour is not actually just coffee and you don’t have to stay a whole hour, though you are more than welcome! This is the time when we enjoy some nourishment, catch up with each other and the folks at the other two churches and often times gather in smaller groups to take action for justice in the world or plan the next month of Sunday School. Take the plunge and jump in and we’ll do our darndest not to make you swim out there alone as a newcomer.