Early Service: 8:15 am
Overview of Worship at Cornerstone
Hospitality & Greeting
When you enter the church greeters are located just inside the doors of the church to welcome everyone. The greeters have bulletins which list our order of service and important information about programs and events at the church. The greeters are there to assist our visitors in any way. If you have questions please feel free to ask our greeters.
Cornerstone has an awesome Child Care ministry team. Cornerstone makes child care available for children infants through 5 years old. The classrooms are located on the western side of our building. Parents are responsible for checking their children in and checking them out following the service. During the service our littlest disciples will be guided into the sanctuary to receive communion (the Eucharist). The Child Care team will help your children come and receive the bread and juice. While child care is available to all parents, those who want their children to stay with them throughout the service are welcome to do so. Please register through the church office for childcare during Bible Study.
Children are always welcome at Cornerstone!
Cornerstone is a musical church! During each of our two services the congregation is invited to sing hymns, songs and listen to special music presentations. In between our two services Cornerstone offers a solid 30 minutes of praise music. The praise music begins at 9:45am and concludes just prior to the beginning of our 10:15 am service. During Praise Time we encourage everyone to join their voices in offering praise to the Lord! Everyone is welcome to praise God as they desire. Some stand, clap and lift their hands to the Lord. Others prefer to sit and listen. There is no one way to offer praise so you are invited to offer yourself in praise as you feel comfortable.
Diversity in Music
Cornerstone celebrates the diversity of God’s gifts and people. One area that we celebrate diversity is through the various styles of music. Cornerstone celebrates it all! From traditional hymns, rocking praise music, Latin chants, choral anthems, ancient sung responses, children’s Bible songs, country, black Gospel, southern Gospel, contemporary songs, you name it and we have played it! The broad diversity of music styles helps us realize that the celebration of God’s grace cannot be limited to just one style and that everyone should learn to celebrate and appreciate all that God’s people have to offer!
Cornerstone believes in the motto “Come As You Are!” From suits and dresses to shorts and t-shirts everyone is welcome at Cornerstone. The important part is that we don’t judge others based on the way they dress but invite everyone to come as they feel comfortable!
Throughout the service members of the congregation will rise up and read the designated scripture text for the week. Those who are reading are members of the congregation that sign up to participate. The scripture reading sign up book is located in the church lobby on the eastern side of the building. Cornerstone United Methodist Church follows the Lectionary reading cycle. The Lectionary offers designated text for communal reading every week.
The Lectionary includes an Old Testament reading, Epistle (letter) reading, and the Gospel reading for the day. The Lectionary Reading Cycle runs for three years and covers over 80% of the passages found in the Bible. Since there are three readings every Sunday the designated text being used for the sermon can be found in the bulletin in bold print. Some have asked, “Why do you read all the texts when some of the additional texts don’t have anything to do with the sermon?” Well, Cornerstone believes that hearing the Word of God is important and while the texts don’t always coincide they are important for everyone to hear and become familiar with. Occasionally, Cornerstone will break away from the designated Lection texts for special services.
The sermon is the time when the pastor or guest preacher gets up to speak more intentionally about a designated text or texts. The sermon offers proclamation and illumination on the text. At Cornerstone, the sermon is usually given from the floor in front of the congregation. While traditionally sermons have been given at the Pulpit (lectern) Cornerstone believes that the illumination of God’s Word arises from within the community. Preaching in front of the congregation is more personal and offers the speaker freedom to move around.
During the second service a special time for children is offered. During this time children are invited to come to the front of the sanctuary to receive a brief lesson related to the text for the day. Following the Children’s Moment children are invited to follow teachers back to the classroom area of the church for additional lessons, crafts and fellowship. Children will return to the sanctuary following the Prayers of the People. Children’s Celebration is for children ages infant – 5th grade.
Creeds and Affirmations
Following the sermon the congregation is invited to offer a response to God’s Word. This usually comes in the form of a Creed or Affirmation. Many of the Creeds have ancient origin. They are statements of faith and give testimony to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the early church many people could not read. The church composed the Creeds to help people memorize a basic statement of faith. Affirmations are similar to Creeds but were not officially sanctioned by the early church councils. In a few of the Creedal statements you will hear the word “catholic” used. Many wonder why we still use the word “catholic”? First, the word “catholic” is written with a lower case “c” and literally means universal. So, when we use the word “catholic” we are making an affirmation about the universal church of Jesus Christ and not a particular denominational body. Second, we celebrate the Creedal statements as handed down throughout the ages. Affirmations are typically more modern and have a bit more flexibility in their language.
At the end of every service the congregation is invited to stand and participate together in the “sending forth”. During this time you will see people putting their hands in the air extending their thumb, index finger and middle finger representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The other two fingers are bent downward representing the two-fold nature of Christ – fully human and fully divine. A prayer of blessing is offered sending the community out into the world to bear witness to Christ.
Holy Communion or The Eucharist
Cornerstone celebrates the Eucharist meal every time we gather for worship. In the early church if the Word of God was proclaimed it was immediately followed with the Eucharist celebration. Word and Table are inseparable! Cornerstone celebrates an “open table” which means that everyone is invited to come and receive the gifts of grace (God’s unconditional love as demonstrated through the outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace). The “open table” means that regardless of what denominational background you come from, no matter how young or old you might be or no matter how long you have been away from the church you are invited and welcome to receive!
Cornerstone receives the Eucharist by way of “intinction”. Everyone will be invited to come and receive following a time for confession and prayer. When a person arrives at a Eucharist station they cup their hands to receive a piece of bread. The cupping of hands and receiving the bread is a symbol that we do not take grace but rather receive grace from God. The person then takes the bread and dips it in the cup uniting the two elements and eats the bread and juice. The United Methodist Church uses grape juice instead of wine during the Eucharist meal. Through the bread and juice we remember the God of all creation who has provided the grain of the field and fruit of the vine. In receiving the bread and the juice we remember the last supper of Jesus Christ and the institution of this Holy meal. Through the partaking of the bread and the juice we remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and are participants in His offering of self for us and the whole world.
Throughout the Eucharist meal we are also incorporated into the great community of saints who have gone before us and acknowledge that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. The meal also is a participation in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the in-breaking Kingdom of God. In this great feast God is really present with and for us through the bread and juice and offers a foretaste of God’s Kingdom on earth. The United Methodist Church does not believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation which basically is the belief that the bread and juice literally become the flesh and blood of Christ.
A part of Christian discipleship is stewardship. Stewardship is the responsibility of caring for the resources God has given. In our worship together we acknowledge before the world that God has given everything for us and we in turn offer ourselves and give for the ministry of God’s church, people and mission. The offering boxes are located at the doors of the sanctuary and invite people to place their tithes and offerings there as they enter or exit the sanctuary. Sometimes Cornerstone passes offering plates to receive the offering. This is done during the Eucharist celebration. Cornerstone is in this ministry “together” and we all share in giving and providing for the ministry of the church.
Prayers of the People and Prayer Stations
During the service the community is led in prayer. This act of communal prayer is an opportunity to unite our hearts and minds as we lift petitions and prayers on behalf of the church, the world, our nation, our local community and the needs of those who are in the need of prayer. The Prayers of the People can take on many different forms. Often, one of the pastoral leaders of the church will offer a communal prayer. Other times the congregation might be invited to gather in small groups or even participate in silent reflection. In addition to the communal prayers Prayer Stations are offered during the Eucharist meal in which individuals and families are invited to bring specific petitions. At the Prayer Stations, those seeking prayer, will be anointed with oil and lifted in prayer.
Cornerstone has two large screens which help guide the congregation through worship. These screens are used to provide words for songs, hymns and worship responses. The screens are also used for video clips and images. The use of multimedia is an important part of modern worship and is an aide for the congregation to freely worship.
Invitation to Life in Jesus Christ
Every Sunday Cornerstone offers an opportunity for individuals to accept Jesus Christ as the Lord of their life or to rededicate their life to Christ. The invitation is made prior to receiving the Eucharist meal and individuals are welcome to come join the pastoral team behind the table. To receive Jesus Christ as Lord all you have to do is ask! The pastoral team will lead persons wanting to receive Christ in a prayer of life in Christ. The prayer is simple, “Dear Lord Jesus I give my life to you. Forgive me of all my sin. Cleanse me and make me new. I confess you as Lord of my life. I confess you as the Lord of all creation. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Today I give my life to you! Amen!!”