Worship through the Seasons of the Church Year
Please join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 10 am. Here’s a taste of what worship is like at First Presbyterian in Cottage Grove….
Advent and Christmas Eve
Advent is the beginning of the church year; every year we celebrate Christ’s birth during the four Sundays of Advent. We decorate the sanctuary with a beautiful Christmas tree, an advent wreath and poinsettias. Worship is enriched with beautiful Advent music. On the fourth Sunday of Advent we collect the PC(USA) Christmas Joy Offering to benefit retired church workers in need, PC(USA) schools equipping communities of color, and leadership development for people of color. On Christmas Eve, we hold a candlelight service in the Sanctuary with lessons and carols. The service concludes with the passing of lighted candles, as we sing “Silent Night.” It’s a beautiful symbol of Christ’s light coming into the world.
Ash Wednesday and Lent
For the past several years, members of the First Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist Church and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Cottage Grove, have come together for a simple soup, bread and salad dinner before an Ash Wednesday worship service. We start our Lenten journeys in repentance and remembering our mortality, as the pastors remind worshipers, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Throughout the six Sundays of Lent, we worship with more silence, contemplative music and prayer, in preparation for Holy Week. On Maundy Thursday, the three churches have a joint Tenebrae Service at the Methodist church. Again, we share a simple supper and then worship together with a joint communion service. In this way, we prepare for the joy of Easter and Christ’s resurrection.
Alleluia, Christ is risen! We begin the morning with an Easter Breakfast, then celebrate the resurrection of Christ in worship with special music and beautiful spring flowers. Every year the children decorate a cross with flowers and enjoy an Easter egg hunt in the garden after the service. On Easter Sunday we collect the PC(USA) One Great Hour of Sharing Offering, which helps in time of natural disaster around the world, feeds hungry people, and encourages economic development in minority communities.
Wear red to worship on Pentecost! We celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the church’s birthday with flame colored streamers and lots of red candles. Pentecost is a party at First Presbyterian. We move the party from the sanctuary into the Friendship Hall after worship where the Christian Education committee hosts a Pentecost Festival with activities for children and adults. We also collect the PC(USA) Pentecost Offering, which benefits children, youth and young adults in our community and the world.
World Communion Sunday
With Christians around the world, we celebrate World Communion Sunday on the first Sunday in October. We recognize that we are united in Christ with all our brothers and sisters around the world. During this special communion, breads from around the world are offered to the congregants and special music from different parts of the world is played. On this Sunday, we collect the PC(USA) Peace and Global Witness Offering, which benefits ministries fighting injustice and violence and encouraging peacemaking here and around the world.
In 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, and unwittingly, began the Protestant Reformation. On the last Sunday in October, we remember our heritage by celebrating Reformation Sunday. We pay homage to the great reformers, Luther, John Calvin and John Knox, as well as marking the ways that the church continues to grow and reform. We celebrate the Presbyterian Church’s Scottish heritage by wearing plaid to worship, listening to the bagpipes, and singing Reformation hymns and then eating shortbread during coffee hour.