WELCOME TO WORSHIP from Pastor Nancy Raabe
We worship the triune God and vigorously proclaim God’s Word every Sunday morning at 8 and 10:30 a.m. Our late service is livestreamed and the recording available thereafter on our YouTube channel; find them here on the online worship page. Masks continue to be strongly required in the building at all times including during worship.
What to Expect on a Sunday Morning at Grace
Know that you will be warmly greeted and welcomed. Please introduce yourself to those around you and especially to the pastor. There is a Guest Book located near the entrance to the sanctuary; if you would sign it, it would help us to know who you are and maintain a connection.
As you enter the sanctuary you will pick up a bulletin and the weekly newsletter, Grace Notes, from a basket at either entrance. Grace Notes also contains contact information for our leadership.
Word, sacrament, music and prayer are the most important things about our worship together. We do not worry about many other things like how loud your kids are or what you wear. We do have a nursery space available at all times, with sound from the sanctuary, for young children. We embrace this exhortation: Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!
Grace is a congregation of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a liturgical congregation, rich in the history and tradition of the Lutheran Church. Typically, the service follows the order from one of the settings of our hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Worship. For our Scripture selections, we use the Revised Common Lectionary, which includes readings from the Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospels on a three-year rotating basis. We also sing the psalm regularly. Our music will include both traditional and more contemporary hymns, and may be accompanied by organ, piano, brass, guitar, and flutes. Our adult choir began contributing beautiful music to worship once again this fall.
Worship is the cornerstone of our life at Grace. It is our time to center our hearts, minds and souls around God’s Word and Sacrament. You will hear God’s Word faithfully read and preached. The first and fourth services of every month include Holy Communion. Christians of all ages are invited to receive. At every service an offering to support the ministry of Grace Church will also be taken; at present we leave our offerings at the entrance to the sanctuary. We will share the Peace of the Lord with one another, saying “The peace of the Lord be with you!” or similar words. The pastor will greet you at the door as you leave.
Tips for Worshiping at Home
- Create a worshipful setting. Gather what items you have around the house to create a centerpiece for worship. Even a TV tray may serve as an altar, with a lighted candle at the center and a cross if you have one. You may add a few seasonal decorations as well (springs of evergreens in the winter, buds in the spring).
- Get settled. Make sure that the lighting in the room is conducive to avoid screen glare. Position everyone to be able to see the screen. Test the audio. Provide ample and comfortable seating for everyone. Grab that cup of coffee or tea. If you want to follow along with the bulletin, make sure you’ve clicked on the link in the YouTube description (you’ll find it if you click on “see more”) to call it up.
- Pray. Before the service begins, offer a prayer out loud for whomever is present (even if it is just you), invoking God’s presence. Give this special time to God. Pray for your pastor and all worship leaders. Here is a prayer you can use:
Triune God, be present with us as we turn our hearts to worship you. We thank you that you are present everywhere at once, and so we ask for the blessing of the Holy Spirit to pour out upon those who lead us in worship and upon every worshiping community gathered everywhere throughout your creation. May Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord, meet us powerfully to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
- Enthusiastically participate throughout the entire service! Don’t just watch other people sing. You sing, too! Don’t just watch other people pray. You pray, too! You might even stand or sit as appropriate, as long as you can still see your screen. You might think, what’s the point? No one can hear me. Ah, but many can hear you. In fact, every Sunday when our churches are full of people, there are a host of others who are hearing us; we have just become unaware. Every time we worship the Lord Jesus Christ as the gathered community on earth, we unite with the saints in glory, the church triumphant, as they do the same. Remember those words in our communion liturgy, how we are joining our voices with those of the heavenly choirs? So ahead—sing, pray, and gesture in abandon, for you are not alone after all!
- Be part of the online worshiping community by giving us some comments during the livestream. Let us know you’re there and what we can do to make your experience even better.
- Reflect. Mention what happened in worship at various points throughout the rest of the day or the upcoming week. Reflecting on what held meaning or was remarkable (other than the glitches in live streaming that happen to all of us) is a way to remind ourselves that our weekly worship service at home has real significance.
Worshipping remotely can easily become passive, but biblical worship is never passive. So, let’s do what we can to fully engage. Think of it as rehearsing for that first Sunday when we are finally back in our houses of worship together again. How much more enthusiastic our worship will surely be for having made the shift from watching to participating until then!
Holy Communion at Home Grace Lutheran Church, Hatfield
In this time as we continue to be guarded about in-person worship, we recognize the desire of our members participating in worship via livestream to celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion. For this purpose, it is possible to administer the sacrament with fundamental attention to care, fidelity, reverence, and good order.
As those called by the congregation to this ministry, ordained clergy, within the context of the livestream, will speak the words to consecrate the elements. Bread and wine or grape juice, in a reverent setting, will be prepared in your homes and you will administer it to yourselves or to each other at the same time it is received by the in-person congregation. We will remind you at the beginning of the livestream to have your elements ready. See a recipe for Altar Bread on our Resource page: Grace Lutheran Resources
For good order in the church, for those physically able to be present in church this will only be done until we can freely gather again as the body of Christ. Those who are not able to be physically present due to distance or other challenges may continue to celebrate the sacrament with us from home. In other words, in providing for communion at home we are not setting any precedent for future communion practices, but only making a compassionate decision to address the needs of the faithful in the present moment.
Lent– Grace has its own evening worship services on Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday in our church. During the other weeks of Lent, we typically partner with other Hatfield congregations for Community Lenten Services on Wednesday evenings. Each week, one church will host and another church will provide the preacher. There is always good fellowship and refreshments following the services. Please contact the Church office if you would like a Lent Schedule.
Easter- Services are held at our normal 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. worship times and is festive and celebratory!
Thanksgiving Eve– Each year, Grace participates with Heidelberg UCC in Hatfield in a joint Thanksgiving Eve service on the Wednesday evening prior to the holiday. One church hosts, the other provides the preacher, and there is a combined choir. In 2021 we may come together in the form of a virtual service.
Christmas Eve– We celebrate the birth of Christ with services at 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. that include Holy Communion, Congregational candle lighting, and all of our most beloved Christmas carols.
Weddings- Our pastor is available for weddings both at Grace and at other locations. A period of preparation is required in order to plan the service and do necessary premarital discernment.
Funerals- Our pastor is available for funerals of both members and non-members of Grace. Funerals may be held at the church, a funeral home, graveside, or another location. Please contact the Pastor or our office at 215-855-4676 for additional information