Hospitality is an important hallmark of our congregation, and we welcome all to worship with us. We are located across from the Fort Frederica National Monument on what is considered the north end of the island. We would love to welcome you to a Sunday service! If you cannot join us in person, our pastor’s sermons are available on our Sermons page.
Wesley United Methodist at Frederica is a warm, friendly church on St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Order of Worship
Traditional Order of Worship: AnnotatedTheology of Worship
In worship, we GATHER together as a community set apart to worship together. We tell God’s story as we PROCLAIM THE WORD through Scripture and preaching. We RESPOND to God’s revelation in our lives through prayer, singing, affirming our faith, and Holy Communion. We are SENT FORTH to love and serve God in the world. Our worship follows a pattern of revelation and response: we learn of God and his message to us, and we respond through worship and discipleship. In this way, worship is a two-part dialogue with God.
GATHERING / ENTRANCE RITE
- OPENING VOLUNTARY
Usually played on the organ, the Opening Voluntary helps us transition from our world into God’s worship space. Often, the voluntary is based on the opening hymn, and helps increase our familiarity with the selected hymn as it sets the tone for worship to follow. Quiet meditation is encouraged during the voluntary.
- WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Pastor greets the congregation, “The Lord be with you,” and we respond, “And also with you.” This ancient Christian call and response serves to (1) greet the congregation in Christ’s love and hospitality, (2) establish us as a community of faith together, and (3) communicates why we are here: because our Lord, God, has invited us to worship him. Announcements that are important to the community are shared.
- CALL TO WORSHIP
The spoken Call to Worship, often based on Scripture, serves as our invitation to one another to remember that God invites us to offer our worship to him. God calls us to sing his praises!
A sung choral introit serves the same purpose as the spoken call to worship, an invitation to prepare our hearts to worship God.
- HYMN (Opening Hymn / Processional Hymn)
In the opening hymn, we lift our voices in praise of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The opening hymn calls us out of our daily lives and into God’s worship. The opening hymn focuses on God, proclaiming his attributes, and the praise God deserves.
- OPENING PRAYER
An opening prayer has many purposes; it could be a prayer of adoration, one of petition, or confession. Primarily, the opening prayer asks God to be with us in our worship. It frequently focuses us on the season or liturgical (church calendar) observance of the day. While all worship seeks to tell God’s mighty acts of creation, incarnation, and redemption, we focus on specific parts of the story through the Christian year, and this prayer helps point us in that direction.
- GLORIA PATRI
Following the opening prayer, we praise God by singing the Gloria Patri (“Glory be to the Father”).
“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Amen.”
- CHILDREN’S MOMENT
The Children’s Moment is a special time when we heed Jesus’ command that the little children should come to him. (Matthew 19:14) The pastor teaches the children an appropriate message related to the day’s worship. Afterward, the children are dismissed to go to children’s programming offered by the Director of Children’s Ministries.
SERVICE OF THE WORD (Proclamation of the Word)
- PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
The power of God’s Word comes not from the ink and paper of our printed Bibles or the creative rhetoric of a preacher but from the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit has inspired Scripture and now works in the community of faith to use the proclamation of the Word to comfort, challenge, correct, inspire, and deepen the faith and life of God’s people. The prayer for illumination explicitly acknowledges the Spirit’s work in this part of worship by requesting God’s Spirit to act through the reading and preaching of Scripture.
- SCRIPTURE READING
The public reading and hearing of Scripture is one of the most important acts of Christian worship. Beyond just setting the scene for the sermon, the Scriptures offer the opportunity for God, through the Holy Spirit, to speak to us in real and meaningful ways. 1 Timothy provides guidance regarding Scripture:
“The Bible is the very word of God, given for us.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
“Devote yourself to the public reading of scripture.” (1 Timothy 4:13)
“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, TEV)
Scripture lessons (from the Greek for “reading”), frequently include:
OLD TESTAMENT LESSON
This Scripture reading includes selections, or pericopes, taken from the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, which includes the 39 books divided into sections such as the Torah, or Pentateuch, the Historical Books, the Wisdom Books, the Major Prophets, and the Minor Prophets.
PSALM (Responsive Psalter Reading)
The responsive Psalter reading is traditionally read, or sung in some traditions, as a response to the Old Testament Lesson. The Psalms are also frequently used as an opening act of praise in worship. The Psalms contain the entire breadth of human experience including praise, songs of thanksgiving, prayers of lament, wisdom psalms, and royal psalms. This remarkable collection of poetry, prayer, and praise reflects a broad range of religious faith, liturgical life, and historical experience for the people of Israel. The Psalms are the source for the vast majority of composed church music through the centuries.
An epistle ("letter") is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians are usually referred to as epistles. Those traditionally attributed to Paul are known as Pauline epistles and the others as catholic (i.e., "general") epistles. The New Testament is divided into the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation.
The four canonical Gospels in the New Testament are those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. A Gospel is an account describing the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the synoptic Gospels; many similarities exist between them that are not shared by the Gospel of John. "Synoptic" means here that they can be "seen" or "read together," indicating the many parallels that exist among the three. It is traditional to stand for the reading of the Gospel lesson in order to show reverence for these stories of the life of Jesus.
The middle hymn in the service connects to themes expressed in the Scripture readings and prepares us for the theme that the sermon will express later in the service. The middle hymn is placed in service in order to best connect to the message it is intended to convey, so it may not always occur in the same order each week.
- CALL TO PRAYER
The Pastor greets the congregation, “The Lord be with you,” and we respond, “And also with you.” This call and response greeting emphasizes the community and the corporate nature of prayer.
- MORNING PRAYER
One of the central acts of worship is intercessory prayer, commonly called the “pastoral prayer,” “congregational prayer,“ or the prayers of the people.” This prayer is spoken on behalf of the entire congregation. In the intercessory prayer, we address God in a special way, as priestly intercessors for each other and for the world at large. We pray not just for our own congregation and for the people we know, we also intercede for those in authority, for those who are poor, hungry, or sick, and so on. A common form for prayer that is often used is ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
- THE LORD’S PRAYER
We conclude the Morning Prayer by corporately praying aloud the prayer that Jesus gave us as the model for how we should pray. Take time to consider these familiar words and their meaning for your life.
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”
- CALL TO OFFERING
“As a forgiven and reconciled people, let us offer ourselves and our gifts to God.”
- OFFERTORY PRAYER
The offering is a vital part of our response to God and God’s Word. It helps us connect our adoration for God with our life of discipleship. The money given at the offering is a token and symbol of our desire to devote our whole selves to God’s service in response to God’s loving faithfulness to us. It is symbolic of the many other gifts we should return to the Lord: time, possessions, talents, insights, and concerns for others. The word offering implies something freely given, something presented as a token of dedication or devotion. Everything we have is a gift from God, and our offerings are a way of acknowledging God as the giver. The purpose of the offering is to offer our first fruits to God, to render God a sacrifice of praise. This prayer expresses these ideas before we give.
- OFFERTORY ANTHEM
The choir frequently sings an anthem during the offering. Choral music seeks to connect with and express God’s story, God’s attributes, and the themes found in the Scriptures for this particular worship service.
- PRESENTATION OF OFFERINGS
The service begins building to a high point that will culminate with the Gospel (or Scripture reading) that follows. We present God’s tithes and our offerings as the people stand, and the ushers symbolically present our gifts, which are received by the pastor and presented at the Communion Table and Cross.
A doxology is simply a song of praise. We sing to praise the Triune God as we offer our gifts.
The doxology approximates the Gloria from Luke 2:14, “Gloria in excelsis Deo.” We are familiar with the English text by Thomas Ken, “Praise God from whom all blessing flow; Praise Him all creatures here below; Praise Him above ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
At Wesley, we principally use UMH NO. 94, which uses a familiar tune, LASST UNS ERFREUEN, commonly set to the text, “All Creatures of Our God and King.” We use a slightly altered text, always printed in the bulletin: “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise God all creatures here below: Alleluia, Alleluia! Praise God, the source of all our gifts! Praise Jesus Christ, whose power uplifts! Praise the Spirit, Holy Spirit! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”
During Advent, we sing familiar words set to the Advent hymn tune VENI EMMANUEL, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” with the refrain, “Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.” During Lent, we “drop” the alleluias present in UMH NO. 94 and use UMH NO. 95, which uses the familiar OLD HUNDREDTH hymn-tune.
- Sermon Scripture
The Scripture lesson from which the preacher will preach the sermon is read here, separate from the other Scripture lessons.
In the sermon, our Senior Pastor preaches the spoken Word to us, expounding on one or more of the Scripture lessons already proclaimed in worship.
RESPONSE TO THE WORD
- HOLY COMMUNION / EUCHARIST / THE LORD’S SUPPER
(Occurs on the first Sunday of each month and at other special services through the year)
Holy Communion is a physical, ritual action, mandated by Jesus, through which God acts to nourish, sustain, comfort, challenge, teach, and assure us.
We have heard the gospel proclaimed; now we give physicality to the gospel by partaking in Holy Communion.
- AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
There are many reasons why we as Christians corporately recite Scriptural, historical, or contemporary statements of faith. They are: (1) a fitting response to the Word of God as proclaimed, (2) an expression of the unity in the church across time and space, (3) a witness to our individual participation in something greater than ourselves, (4) a summary of the whole gospel to amplify the portion of the gospel preached in a particular service, (5) a recollection of our baptism and of the faith into which we have been baptized, and (6) an expression of the common faith of the Church, whose unity we affirm at the Lord’s Supper/Holy Communion/Eucharist.
The closing hymn sums up our response to God and his Word for us today and prepares us to reenter the world to work, live, and serve in his name.
- BENEDICTION (and Charge)
Benediction is Latin for “to speak well,” or “to speak a good word.”
The greeting from God at the beginning of a service and God’s blessing at the end of the service frame the entire worship liturgy. Just as we begin with God’s gracious invitation, so we end with God’s promise to always be with us. In the benediction, the dialogue of worship shifts from the people’s response to God’s parting words. The benediction communicates that the Triune God will go with us into life to be with us. We are also charged to be in ministry to others, to be Christ’s hands and feet in a broken world, until we meet to worship again.
- CLOSING VOLUNTARY
The Closing Voluntary sends us out of worship in an appropriate tone to reenter the world.
- TIME OF FELLOWSHIP
We use this time to greet one another and fellowship following worship.
Example: Oasis Order of Worship
• Gathering Song
• Greeting / Announcements
• Round Table Discussion Question
• Congregational Songs
• Prayer / Response Time