Worship Associates are members who are moved and inspired by worship and want to contribute to the congregation’s depth of experience in the service. These lay leaders, guided by the Ministers, assist in leading our Sunday services throughout the year.
Worship associates want to engage in philosophical and theological reflection about meaning and purpose. They are deeply committed to the church and its ideals. Additionally, they have public speaking ability or experience.
First Church’s worship associates Model
The new model broadens and deepens the Worship Associate’s role by engaging Worship Associates in reflection on the meaning, purpose and life of the congregation. The Worship Associates will help develop Sunday themes for worship in quarterly meetings with the Ministers, Music staff, and Program staff. At these meetings, we will delve deeply into personal and communal understandings of monthly themes and then identify topics for each of the Sunday services of the month. The quarterly meetings will include training for Worship Associates on pulpit presence, how to deliver readings, logistics, and creating the container for the shared experience of the worship service.
Sunday Mornings responsibilities
- Each of the Worship Associates shares in conducting our Sunday morning services. Primarily this involves welcoming everyone, lighting the chalice, doing a reading, introducing pulpit guests when the ministers are not present, and extinguishing the chalice at the end of the service.
- The Ministers typically light the Candle of Life to announce births, adoptions, and deaths, and we typically do our own sermons and closing words.
- Worship Associates are also asked to share in the responsibility for the service setup. While most of this should already be in place (by one of our Facilities Assistants), Worship Associates arrive about 30 minutes before the service to do some last minute sound checks of the microphones, make sure the chalice has been filled with alcohol and check in with the Minister.
- Following the service, the Worship Associate welcomes our guests and newcomers at the Guest Table in the Common Room.
- Worship Associates are in charge of taking the lead in conducting the service with pulpit guests. Consequently, the Worship Associate is expected to meet the pulpit guest before the service, orient them to the sanctuary, double-check the expectations for who does what, introduce the guest from the pulpit, etc.
Service Commitments and Applications
The Worship Associates Program is by application only, and training is provided. Terms begin in September with a commitment to serve for two years, including summers. Worship Associates support the Ministers in leading worship about once every two months; covering both the 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. services on the date they serve.
Learn more about Worship Associates opportunities:
The Rev. Dena McPhetres