from Old English weorthscipe: woerth, worth, value + -scipe, -shape, create
We come together as a congregation every Sunday to give shape to, and be shaped by, what we deem worthy in our lives. We hold aside an hour or so every week to be reminded of our essential unity, to take comfort in the bonds and rsponsiblity of community, to be inspired and energized for the work that must be done to make the world a better place. We sing, we sit in reverent silence, we reflect deeply, we feel ourselves held and supported by our faith and by this loving community. We listen, we laugh, we cry, we ponder. In short, we worship.
Worship services at First Church start at 10:30 am; occasionally, there will be an earlier service and sometimes a later service – please check the website for times for any particular date. They usually last about an hour, although some are longer and a few are shorter. All services are followed by a time of conversation and refreshments.
Often a a light lunch is served after the service on Sundays, prepared by our Diva Chef, Jyaphia Christos-Rodgers, and her collaborators for a modest charge (funds go to the church). A vegetarian option is always available. Other times a group from the church goes to The Pyramid, a near-by low-to-moderate priced Middle Eastern café with both meat and vegetarian specialties, for lunch. Everyone, newcomers, first-time visitors, and long-time members are warmly encouraged to attend. It’s a great way to get to know folks while enjoying a good meal.
In structure, the regular Sunday service at First Church is a typical Protestant “hymn sandwich” – some words, a hymn, some more words, another hymn, a sermon, another hymn… but there are times during the year when we depart from that format for special holidays or seasonal celebrations. Our Water Ceremony of Ingathering on the first Sunday after Labor Day is always an emotional homecoming; our Yom Kippur ritual of reconciliation is a moving way of recognizing our shortcomings; the Jazz Funeral for the Old Year on the Sunday closest to New Year’s is a fitting New Orleans ritual to mark the passing of another year. Our annual Youth Service and Religious Education Service are eagerly anticipated as celebrations of our children and young people; click here for more about our Religious Education programs.
The members and friends of First Church come from a wide variety of walks of life and ways of earning a living. We are an urban congregation, located on a transit line on a major traffic artery, and our building is host to the New Orleans Rebirth Volunteer Center, housing committed volunteers from all over the country coming to help with the city’s restoration. Therefore, the usual and standard dress for worship is rather casual, although there are always some folks arrayed in “Sunday best.” Our recommendation for dress is, “Come comfortable.”
Our worship is planned by our minister with the help and support of the Worship Team and the Music staff. Worship Associates are individuals trained to lead worship and to assist the minister with her worship services. Suggestions for worship themes and topics as always welcome, as are new volunteers. Check the church calendar for the date of the next Worship Team meeting.