IMG_2596Liturgical Worship

Worship at Zion is “liturgical” – which means services include recognizable elements most congregants are familiar with.

If you’re a newcomer this can seem confusing, but don’t worry.  Everything you need to know is in the church bulletin handed to you with a smile when you arrive, and the entire liturgy is printed in the red worship book, which you’ll find on the back of the pew in front of you.

And you don’t have to say the responses or sing the hymns or stand for the prayers if you don’t want to.  We’ll just be happy you’re joining us!

How to respond, “share the peace” and more

Here’s a quick rundown on some ways the congregation participates in worship:

  • Greeting – the formal greeting in our church is “the Lord be with you.”  The response is “and also with you.”  The pastor generally begins each service with these words.
  • Call to Worship – this is printed in your bulletin, and read responsively.
  • Alleluia – after the weekly readings, the congregation stands to sing Alleluia (except during Lent, when we forsake the joyful Alleluia).  You’ll find the page number for the music in your red worship book printed in the weekly worship guide.
  • Sharing the Peace – after the sermon, the pastor invites the congregation to “Share the Peace of Christ.”  You do this by shaking hands with those around you.  You can say “peace be with you” or something similar.
  • Creed – at some services the congregation speaks either the Nicene Creed or the Apostles’ Creed.  Both are printed in the worship book for easy access.
  • Prayers of Intercession – these are prayers offered on behalf of other people.  There are a number of responses, including “Thy mercy is great” and “Hear our prayer.”  The response for the day will be listed in the bulletin.
  • The Lord’s Prayer – we use two versions of this prayer, one traditional and the other updated.  The bulletin will denote which we are using by printing the first line as either “Our Father who art in heaven,” or “Our Father in heaven.”
  • Dismissal:  the formal dismissal is “go in peace to love and serve the Lord,” the response to which is “thanks be to God.”


Communion – all are welcome

Everyone is welcome at Christ’s table in our church, whether you’re Lutheran, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or nothing at all.

You may choose to take wine from individual cups (pick one up as you walk towards the alter and bring it with you to the rail) or from the shared cup.  There is also a small amount of apple juice available in individual cups, for those who are unable to take wine.

Children and communion

Children are also welcome to receive the Lord’s supper.  It is also an acceptable practice for children to come to the rail and receive a blessing in lieu of the bread and wine if this is what they or their parents prefer.

What to wear

Please feel free to wear whatever is most comfortable for you.  You will see Zion members dressed in everything from formal suit-and-tie to denim.

The offering

As in most churches, it is our custom to share blessings by making an offering at each service.  You needn’t feel obligated to do so, but if you do, please know your gift will be used to further the work of the Church, both in Stratford and around the world.  Thank you!