What to Expect
Young, old, black, white, asian, latin, gay, straight, poor, rich, tall, short…whatever your path in life, you’ll feel a warm welcome at First Church!
What kind of people visit?
Most visitors are from Manhattan below 23rd Street, but people attend from far and wide. Many students visit during the university calendar and tourists and guests often attend from out of town.
How should I dress?
Clothing styles vary. Some folks wear jeans and flip-flops, others wear jackets and dresses. Wear what you like. There is no code or norm.
What happens when I get there?
The service starts at 11:00 AM. An usher will greet you and we encourage you to take a worship bulletin. Browse the bulletin and you’ll see all aspects of the service written there. If you have any questions, just ask.
Afterwards we usually meet in the Parlor, upstairs in the Church House, for light snacks and refreshments at Coffee Hour. It’s a great time to get to meet some of your neighbors.
What about kids?
We love kids! Children are always welcome in worship. Many kids attend the first part of the worship service with their parents and are invited to come to the front of the church to join in a children’s prayer before leaving for church school. Skilled professional care is also provided for children under 3: find out more in our Education section.
What’s the service like?
The worship service includes music, prayers (silent and spoken), readings from Scripture, greeting one another (friendly and brief), a sermon, an offering, the Eucharist (a celebration of an ancient meal also known as the Lord’s Supper), and a closing prayer.
Many visitors especially love our music. The choir sings anthems ranging from plainsong to Renaissance motets to Bach chorales to spirituals to music of the 21st century. The congregation also sings with enthusiasm the great hymns of the church. Sometimes worship also includes a jazz soloist or ensemble, the childrens choir or guests from other congregations. Regardless of the genre, you’re sure to find music which celebrates the glory of God.
How long does the service last?
Usually about an hour. Sometimes a little longer on special occasions, such as Membership Sundays, Easter, and baptisms.
Am I required to do anything during the service?
You are invited to participate as fully in our worship as you feel comfortable. There are several times in worship where the congregation is invited to stand, including for singing hymns, certain prayers, the affirmation of faith and doxology. The Lord’s Supper is celebrated once a month and is open to all who profess to follow Jesus; communion in usually served in your pew.
Is Worship only on Sundays?
We also have worship services on Wednesdays at noon. On Wednesdays at noon, from September through May, a 30-minute worship is held in the Alexander Chapel. These services are family friendly and diverse in theme, such as a Belssing of the Animals service, an Epiphany Service, and Taize worship. Please check the church calendar for specific information on each month’s service.