Worship at MCPC in 2014…from the Annual Report

Currently the Worship Team consists of Pastor Diane, Elaine Brown, Marci Clark, Ruth Cook, Kathy Chase and Joanna Damon as chair of the Team. The team’s purpose is to work with Pastor Diane in planning and organizing our worship services, especially with consideration of the special seasons and times in the life of the congregation.

The team recruits greeters, liturgists, readers, pulpit supply and, when possible, people to provide special music. The team is responsible for making sure that the sanctuary is in readiness for each service from the details of microphones and candles to the appointments of the seasons: banners, paraments, and symbolic flora such as poinsettias for Christmas, palms for Palm Sunday, lilies for Easter and roses for All Saints (all of which were overseen by Kathy Chase). We are grateful for your fresh flowers from the garden as well as arrangements for special occasions.

We’d like to give special thanks to all those who helped decorate the church this past Christmas season (as well as those who helped undecorated and store items for next year). This year there was a special addition to the “appointments” of the sanctuary as Kathy Chase and I made two new banners, “Praise” and “Glory,” to hang during “Ordinary Time.” This was done in consultation with Pastor Diane, Joan Coop & Deb Rafnell – who originally suggested the materials and process.

The Worship Team manages the arrangement of the Sanctuary for special services and presentations, as well as every Sunday. This year, we experimented with a more circular arrangement of seating which received unanimous approval and very positive response. Not only does it allow us to see the entire worshipping community, but it enables better acoustics when singing. In this way, we are truly gathered around the table of the Lord.

Recognizing the diversity of our worshipping community, the Worship Team strives to plan services that are diverse, creative, inspirational and most importantly, filled with praise and gratitude to our Maker.

Many have missed having a choir, so we brought in Shannon Chase, director of Vox Nova (who holds a masters in conducting, a doctorate in choral music, and is the daughter of Kathy Chase), to lead some choral workshops. The MCPC “Advent Choir” formed during the workshops.   Members of her group Vox Nova sang for services on December 14th and 21st. They were joined on the 21st by the MCPC Advent Choir and the newly formed choir, conducted by Ruth Cook, also sang for the Christmas Eve service which was also enriched by two solos, “O Holy Night” sung by Shannon and “Mary Did You Know?” sung by Hannah Grassman. We are hungry for more music! In fact, our music program relies mostly on volunteers, especially Becky Jordan who continues to donate her accompanist talents to fill in when Bob Frank, our paid accompanist, is off. If you, or anyone you know, would like to bring musical offerings to MCPC – please let us know.

Drawing upon our wealth of retired ministers, we were blessed to have Rev. Barrie Shepherd with us for the Maundy Thursday Communion Service, as well as this Advent season. Rev. Bob Beringer and Rev. Bill Coop also inspired us with sermons as they filled in the pulpit for the pastor’s vacation times, Pentecost and Advent. Of course, we also depend upon other “Preachers from the Pew” including Ruth Cook and Deborah Patterson – our thanks to everyone who fills in! Last, but not least, thanks to the angels who help to prepare the bulletin each week.

 We pray for God’s continuing guidance in all we do. May God also send us other inspired people to participate in this most holy work – every little bit of help is appreciated. God bless the work of our hearts, our hands, and our worship. Come Sunday, we’ll be there.


Worship Highlights in 2014

In the past year, we saw:

  • a musical call and response honoring the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela (January 19);
  • an all congregational reading of Lessons from the Mountaintop (March 2);
  • a blending of young and wise women as the Girl Scouts participated in the annual PW service (March 9);
  • a Lent & Easter sermon series on the “6 Great Ends of the Church” along with weekly candle-lighting for Lenten prayer intercessions offered by different members of the congregation.
  • Palm Sunday (March 16) was celebrated with the traditional palms recognizing Christ’s festive entry into Jerusalem. The service ended with a reading from His passion in recognition of the ordeal He must pass through before His triumph over death on Easter Sunday.
  • Just as the sun rose on Easter, congregation members gathered for the Sunrise service and then replaced thorny crowns with blooming lilies, on the great lawn, as a public and poignant visual reminder of the Resurrection of Christ we celebrate.
  • On May 11, we heard the real story of “Mothers Day” – radical roots and all.
  • Opening and closing with “Glory be to God for chickadees and butterflies…and all small things that wing their praise,” Prayers from the Ark was the centerpiece of the June 22nd service.
  • July 20 saw us emulating aspects of traditional South African worship as we commissioned Elaine Brown for a trip with other women of PNNE to South Africa.
  • And in a service designed by Bill Coop and Joanna Damon for August 3, designated by PCUSA as “Homelessness and affordable Housing Sunday” we viewed excerpts from the video, “Where Do We Go,” filmed by two local high school students, Alexander Toole (nephew of Teal and Mike Hugo) and Allie Walton.
  • We worshipped with a Psalm-themed hymn-sing on August 24th .
  • The Sunday preceding Labor Day recognized “God Goes to Work Too” as speakers from the congregation, Dick Reese, Deb Patterson, Joan Warren and Buckley Hugo, shared with us where they had found God in their work.
  • Later in the month, we celebrated our annual “Homecoming Sunday” with a potluck after the service.
  • Our World Communion service, the first Sunday of October, exemplified our global connections as Elaine Brown brought stories from her South Africa trip.
  • The month of October also saw us honoring the annual Children’s Sabbath and Reformation Sunday, as the pastor embarked on a spirited and thought-provoking sermon series on various perspectives on Death.
  • Our annual All Saints Sunday gave us an opportunity to honor our communion of Saints.
  • November 9, the Sunday following the Christmas Fair, we took back the hymns of Christmas by singing them before they became fodder for upcoming season of commercials!
  • We began the new liturgical year this past Advent as a church family by bringing our favorite ornaments and nativity sets to share with each other. This year, we also had special music and choral workshops!   As mentioned before, special music was directed by Shannon Chase, daughter of Kathy Chase as members of her group Vox Nova sang for services on December 14th and 21st. They were joined on the 21st by the MCPC Advent Choir formed during two clinics that Shannon held. The Advent Choir, conducted by Ruth Cook, also sang for the Christmas Eve service which was also enriched by two solos, “O Holy Night” sung by Shannon and “Mary Did You Know?” sung by Hannah Grassman. The Christmas Eve service of Lessons and Carols was also made more festive by the ringing of bells during the hymns and a story for the children, read by Miss Shirley who gave our traditional “open on Christmas morning” present to each child. Of course, the service ended with the traditional singing of “Silent Night” to candlelight, symbolizing the light of the Christ child.

And, so here we are again at the beginning of the year again ….see you in church in 2015!