United Parish of Lunenburg
Home | COM | Calendar of Events | Directions | Contact Us | Our History | The Service | Latest News | Shawl Ministry | Meet the Staff | Committees and Groups | Church School Activities | Church School Schedule | Religious Links | MIHN Ministry
Anatomy of the Service

You can comfortably attend the service when you know what to expect and how to react!

The Program is your script!

When you enter the church, there should be two ushers to welcome you and hand you the day's program.  In the hallway-like room (called the Narthax), you can pick up your nametag.  If you are a visitor, or do not have a nametag, please make a temporary one.  We strongly encourage everyone to wear a nametag to make it easier for visitors and new members!

The order of the service:

The order of worship is in the program.  In fact, everything you need for the service is in the program or in the hymnal in the pew rack!  Let's walk through a typical program handout.  (Note that I said 'typical'!)


First, there are likely to be one or more inserts.  Take a moment to see if any of these will be needed as part of the service.  Most likely, they are all things you can address later. 

Preparation for Worship and Prelude

As you are waiting for things to begin, you can chat with those around you, or you can comtemplate the reading at the top of the program.  This reading is entirely for you, it will not be part of the service, per se.  This is also a great time to sign the red registration pad in the pew.  If you have any comments or questions, go ahead and include them here.  Somebody will get back to you if you ask to be contacted!

The prelude is the musical piece that is performed while we all settle in.

When do I stand?

A single asterisk next to an item in the bulletin means that you should stand up with the congregation, if you are able. Otherwise, remain seated. If you are standing up for a hymn, take your cue from the Minister of Music.  When he stands up, that is when you should stand up.  (This is not a hard and fast rule, just a suggestion so you feel comfortable during the service.) 

Sharing of Celebrations and Concerns

We start our service by hearing from both the Pastor and the congregation.  When the Pastor is done with his list of items and announcements, he will recognize members of the congregation that wish to speak.  These are typically birthday/anniversary announcements, or notices of concern for friends and family.  You are also likely to hear messages from committees and such.

Call to Worship

Today's Lay reader will start the actual service with the 'Call to Worship"  This is normally a responsive reading, which means the Lay Reader reads part of the text and the congregations reads the bolded text.

First Hymn

The Call to Worship is followed by the first hymn.  Remember, if there is an asterix in front of the word "HYMN", you should stand up when the Minister of Music stands.  The first hymn is almost always a time where the congregation stands. 

Confession and Prayer

The Lay Reader will now invite us into silent prayer, group prayer, and the Lord's Prayer.  The group prayer is in the program, just join in when the Lay Reader starts.  Don't forget to join in for the Words of Assurance.

First Lesson

The Lay Reader then continues with the First Lesson, typically a responsive Psalm.  You join in for the sentences printed in bold in your program.  This ends the Lay Reader's respnsibilities.  You may see him or her return to the pew now, or after Children's Time.


Remain seated (there is no asterix), and enjoy the Choir!

Childern's Time

After Church School, the children join us for the first part of the service.  When we get to "Children's Time", the children gather with the pastor at the head of the church, and sit on the floor or stairs.  The Pastor will focus directly on our children for a few moments, then invite them to say a prayer.  When finished, children in third grade and under may go downstairs for "Creative Childcare".  This is an informal time of crafts, games or videos led by parent volunteers. In addition, childcare is provided from 9:00 to 12:00 for children under age 3 (5 in the summer) in the nursery which is downstairs from the sanctuary. The nursery is staffed by a professional attendant along with volunteer helpers.

Second Hymn

Quite often, the second hymn is sung seated.  This is sung while the childern go downstairs or return to the pews.

The Second Lesson

The Pastor reads the second lesson.  It is also printed in your program so that you can follow along.  Or, you can just listen.

Gloria Patri

After the Second Lesson, the entire congregation stands and sings.  The words are printed in the program.  They do occasionally change!


Just sit back and listen to the sermon.  It is okay to think about how the sermon applies to your life and/or personal situation. 


This hymn typically fits in with the sermon.  We almost always stand - look for the asterix.

The Offering

The Pastor will announce the offering.  The Choir will encourage us with song.  When the ushers have finished and the Choir has completed their song, the ushers will return up the aisles.  The congregation stands and sings the Doxology as printed in the program.  (It sometimes changes.)  Remain standing and join in for the Unison Prayer of Dedication, printed in the program.  (Note - if you are an usher, you want to take a copy of the program with you!)

Prayer of the People

The Pastor leads the congregation in offering up prayers for others in need.  When complete, the Choir sings a Prayer Response.

Final Hymn

Check for the asterix, but we normally stand for the final hymn.

Commission and Blessing

The Pastor begins the blessing.  It is likely to be responsive, please join in for any lines that are in bold print.  The Pastor then walks down the aisle towards the back of the church.  The Choir will provide a final Response.  Occasionally they will ask us to join in.


The usher should come and extinguish the candles, but this may not happen.  Once the postlude begins, feel free to gather your belongings and join us downstairs for Conversation and Coffee.


In the Protestant church we observe two sacraments: baptism (for both children and adults) and communion. Baptisms are celebrated on certain Sundays during the year as a part of our Sunday worship service. Preparation classes are held in advance, and families are encouraged to attend worship for 6 weeks preceeding baptism. If you are interested, please call the church office.

Communion, or the Lord's Supper, is celebrated the first Sunday of the month, or on special occasions. Everyone is welcome at Christ's table and membership in this church or any church is not a requirement. Children are welcome to participate.

We have a variety of ways of serving communion, which vary from month to month. "Congregational style" is served to people as they sit in the pews. "Methodist style" is served as people come forward and kneel at the rail at the front of the sanctuary. "Intinction" involves people coming forward to receive a piece of bread and then to dip the bread into the communion cup. Whatever method we use, there are always communion stewards helping to direct the congregation so don't feel nervous! If you have a question, feel free to ask one the stewards or an usher. We always use grape juice in the cup.  We also have gluten-free bread for those that require it.

If there is anything you would like clarifed or added, please send us email.

United Parish of Lunenburg
39 Main Street
Lunenburg, MA  01462 
(978) 582-6572