Worship happens in many ways here at UCC. This picture, for example, was taken at a service held in the Oak Grove Cemetary on Memorial Day, 2006. Read below for the more typical worship structure that takes place in our church building.
Time: 10:00 AM
Structure: As you drive up to the United Congregational Church here in Bath, Maine, you are presented with a beautiful façade encasing a large wooden cross which stands the full height of the building. With plenty of parking there is never a long walk to the front door. After you enter the building, the sanctuary is to your left. As you enter through the double doors, you’ll be greeted and given a paper with the worship service outlined on one side and announcements on the other. Before you are seated you will pass a tray of receivers for those who are hard of hearing. Have a seat anywhere you like and go with the flow...here are a few parts to the service that tend to be consistent.
Offering - The offering varies as do the many ways people "give". There may be a basket on a table as you walk into the Sanctuary for the offering or we may incorporate the offering into the service along with a song of praise. Your first time visiting us is always considered our gift to you. There is no expectation of a financial offering even when the basket is passed around the circle...please give it your blessing and perhaps put in a prayer.
Peace of Christ- A time for the community to shake hands with one another and have a small conversation. A standard way of doing this would be to approach someone and say “May the Peace of Christ be with you.” And a response would be, “And also with you.” This is by no means a rule and sharing the Peace of Christ with a partner in the Community can take many forms.
Prayer - Prayer time often begins with Pastor Bill Bliss introducing prayer. This varies a bit from week to week. After this, anyone who would like to voice a prayer speaks it out loud. No hands need to be raised; when one person finishes, another person can begin. Typically, after someone finishes their prayer, they would say, "God, in your mercy." This would follow with the congregation saying, "Hear our prayers." All prayers are welcome; from the smallest wish of a child to the troubled heart of an elder.
Communion – Everyone is welcome to communion. It is open to all who believe in Jesus Christ and want to participate in the ceremony to remember that Jesus died for you. The pastor, Bill Bliss, will give the blessing. Then, those who choose to partake will form two lines down the center aisle towards the altar to receive communion. The procedure is to tear off a piece of bread, dip it in the juice and then place it in your mouth. You would then follow the outside of the pews to go back to where you were seated.
The message – There is no standard delivery of the sermon. There is something different every week. From a chocolate fountain during Mardi Gras to a more traditional time with Pastor Bill reading scripture and sharing his views on it. Whatever happens, you will likely leave in awe at your spiritual connection gleaned from one hour in this wonderful place. The surprise and change will keep you coming back wondering “What will happen today?”
Coffee Hour - Though technically not a part of worship, coffee hour is a wonderful way to get to know other partners in the Faith Community. Coffee Hour occurs in the Living Room which is located just to the right of the front door. There is comfortable seating, yummy snacks, good drink, and fabulous conversation.
Afterglow - Afterglow is a time after coffee hour for a smaller, more intimate time for discussions. These occur in a circular formation in the back of the sanctuary. The topic of afterglow varies from week to week. Some topics include meeting with parents to discuss childcare, expectations of Faith Community Partners and bible study to do a closer reflection of the day's sermon.