Children’s Sunday School is offered at 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. The first session, for children, Pre-K through Grade 5, begins in 8:45 Chapel. Children are excused to their class following the Children's Message. Similarly, at 10:00
a.m. Sunday School begins with worship. Pre-K through Grade 7 children come with their
parents, then go to their classrooms following the Children's Message.
Children ages 4 and younger may also be cared for in West Side's
nursery, located on the second floor of the Christian Education
building, where they will be supervised by women experienced in child
care. Ask an usher for help in finding it.
Young people in grade 8 are part of West Side's confirmation class, called FOCUS, held at 9:00 a.m. in Room 312.
A Young People’s Guide
the Morning Worship Service
What Do We Do When We Worship?
Worship is about God, not about us! It is the most important time of
the week for the people of God, the heart of who we are. From it, we
receive the energy to serve through the hearing of God's Word, the
singing of God's praise, and the offering of our prayers. As
Presbyterians, we believe that God wants us to participate actively in
the liturgy, which is the work of the people. The liturgy is the part
of the service that is ours to do: spoken and sung responses, unison
prayers, hymns. The better we understand what we are doing and why, the
more we will gain from worship.
Worship is alive and therefore keeps changing. We must work to learn
new ways and to re-learn old ways. We hope you and your family will
think about what we do when we come together in corporate worship, as
Christians have for centuries, to worship God.
Worship through Silence: When we come into worship, we come in quietly
so that we can prepare to listen, pray, and sing together as God's
The Prelude: Music helps us to
get ready to worship God. This is a time to think about God, love, our
friends and family, and all the people in God's world. Sometimes the
music is quiet, sometimes joyful, as it reflects the season of the
year, such as the excitement of Easter morning or the sadness of Good
Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:
The Call to Worship is a spoken statement, often from the Psalms,
usually said by the Minister. Sometimes it is read antiphonally (back
and forth) between the Minister and the congregation. It is often
followed by a unison (together) prayer.
Hymn of Praise: This is the
first hymn we sing in praise of God. It is called the processional hymn
if the choir and the Minister are in the back of the church and come
forward during the singing to take their places in the chancel. It
focuses us on God, who has called us to this time of worship.
Prayer of Confession: We pray
to God, admitting that sometimes we do wrong things, that we don't
always do all the good we might do, and that we do not always love as
we should. We ask God to help us live better Christian lives. This
prayer is said out loud, in unison; then there is a moment of silent
prayer when we can focus on what we have said together and on what we
want to say to God about ourselves.
Kyrie: The Kyrie is one of the
oldest responses in Christian worship, dating from before AD 500. The
original Greek words Kyrie eleison mean "Lord have mercy." We sing them
as a response to our prayer of confession, reminding ourselves that we
are part of a Church which has worshipped for centuries. The music for
the Kyrie may change, but the words are centuries old!
Assurance of Pardon: The Minister tells the congregation that God forgives us and loves us, that God has redeemed (saved) us.
Thanksgiving: We sing a song of
thanks and praise for God's forgiveness. Sometimes we use a verse of a
hymn, sometimes the Gloria Patri. This is an ancient canticle (song),
whose Latin words mean "Glory to the Father." It is a song of praise to
the Trinity (God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). Like the
music for the Kyrie, music for the Gloria Patri may change.
The Peace: We have praised God,
confessed our sins, been reminded that we are forgiven. Our happiness
spills over and we reach out and share our joy with other friends in
Christ. Often the ancient greeting, "The peace of Christ be with you,"
The Children's Message: We want
our children and youth to know they are an important part of the
corporate (everyone together) worship service. This moment is just for
them, while the adults listen!
Scripture lesson: We listen to
readings from the Bible so that we can hear God's message to us and
think about what God wants us to do. Readings come from the Old and New
Testaments and include selections from the Psalms, Gospels, and
Epistles (letters). We affirm the importance of Scripture and our
gratitude for it through a dialogue at the conclusion of the reading:
The reader states, "The word of the Lord," and the congregation
replies, "Thanks be to God."
Sermon: The minister teaches us about the meaning of God's Word for each of us, for our Church, and for God's world.
Creed: A creed is a statement
of what we believe. Sometimes we use the Apostles' Creed or Nicene
Creed, which are centuries old, but we also use confessions written
throughout the history of the Church, including our recent "Brief
Statement of Faith."
Hymn: The middle hymn helps us
to think about what we have heard in the sermon or about the part of
the Liturgical Year (Christian Year) we are observing.
Pastoral Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer:
The Minister gives thanks to God (prayer of thanksgiving) and prays for
people in this church and in the world who need God's help (prayers of
intercession). The prayers ends with the Lord’s Prayer, the special
model of prayer that Jesus taught his disciples (see the New Testament,
the book of Matthew, chapter 6, beginning with verse 9).
Offering: God asks us to give a
tithe, a tenth of all that we have been given, to help the Church to do
God's work. In addition to our money, we also give ourselves in service
Anthem: The choir sings special
music during the offering and at other times in the service. These
anthems have been prepared as offerings to God, too, in response to all
that we have been given. Sometimes instrumental music is used,
reminding us that we can sing to God in many ways.
Doxology: A doxology is an
ascription (giving) of praise to God. There are many doxological
verses, and so from time to time we change our response at this point.
One of the most familiar doxologies dates from the 1600's and is sung
to a tune called "Old Hundredth."
Prayer of Thanksgiving: The Minister or leader gives thanks for what God has given to us and asks God to receive our gifts of thanks.
Hymn: The closing hymn, like
all the hymns we sing, helps us to praise God, to think about what
we've been listening to in worship, and sends us out into the world to
Charge and Benediction: The
Minister or leader challenges us to remember what we have heard in
worship and to live accordingly throughout the week. Benediction means
"good word," a blessing given to us to help us remember who we are as
Postlude: Like the prelude, the
postlude, usually played on the organ, has been prepared as a special
offering of music to God, a musical way of saying “Amen, we agree!”
— Adapted from Reformed Church, New Paltz, NY; revised by Joanne H. Rodland.
Welcoming Parents and Children in Worship
The West Side Presbyterian Church welcomes and encourages young
children to be participants in the worship service. Here are some
suggestions that may help make the experience a pleasant one for both
parent and child.
Most parishioners, and especially the ministers, are not bothered by
restless children. We are glad to have them and you in worship. Do not
feel that your child must be absolutely quiet and absolutely still –
these are unreasonable expectations (and certainly more than we expect
Help your child feel welcome in worship by giving her a bulletin of
her own. Let your child draw on it with a pencil, pen, or crayon. Do
not expect your child to sit still all the time. Just assist the child
in being as quiet as possible.
Use the bulletin with your child to read the responsive or unison
portions of the liturgy. Help your child find the Scripture passages in
your Bible and follow along with the reader. Pray the prayers with your
child. This helps the child learn what to do.
Sing the hymns with your child. If he is very young, encourage him to
stand, holding an open hymnbook. The child will feel very important and
grown-up. Large print hymnbooks are available in the Narthex; young
readers find these easier to use. Encourage an older child to sing by
pointing to the words or notes occasionally to make sure he knows where
the congregation is at that time.
When you speak to your child in worship, always whisper softly. This
will assist in teaching her to be quiet at the appropriate times. Also,
call the child’s attention to what’s going on in the service, without
expecting 100% attention from the child.
If your small child wants to stand on the pew so he can see what’s going on, remove his shoes to protect the pew pad.
When your child becomes restless, hold her on your lap for a while.
This provides wonderful “cuddle time” and also helps the child calm
At some time other than worship, take the child on a tour of the
sanctuary, explaining the various parts of the room. Rev. Liz Junod will be glad to conduct such a tour.
Help your child to memorize the common responses such as the Lord’s Prayer so he can feel like a participant.
- The balcony and the front row of chairs in the sanctuary are especially
good for families with younger children as they can see what is
occurring. The inside aisle is better for the child than in the middle
of the row.
- Discuss the worship service on the way home from church. The child
probably got more out of the service than you might have expected.
- “Baptized (children) are entitled to the pastoral care and
instruction of the church, and to participation in the Sacrament of the
Lord’s Supper.” (Book of Order G-5.0201) Please explain to your child
at a level that she can understand, the meaning and significance of
communion before each communion service so that she can properly
participate. Pamphlets for children on communion and baptism are
There is no need to feel embarrassed if your child acts up. Simply
take the child to the back of the sanctuary or to the narthex. You will
be able to hear what’s going on while you are soothing him. When the
child calms down, go back to your seat. If he refuses to calm down,
remain with him in the Narthex or take him to the nursery or class
What if your child cries when you put her in the nursery? It is
normal for children to be upset when parents first leave them in a
strange place with people they do not know. Our experience is that the
child will quiet down much faster if the parent simply leaves, trusting
the attendant to handle the situation. Ask the child care worker about
our pager system, if desired.
Rev. Penny Hogan
201-652-1966, ext. 12