frequently asked questions
What do people wear for services?
What programs do you offer for my children/youth/singles?
Can I participate in the communion service?
Is there a social time/coffee time before or after the service?
What type of worship do you have and what is the music like? Traditional? Contemporary?
What would I find going on in your church on any given Sunday?
If I am interested in membership, what should I do? What must I believe to become a member?
Are there Bible Studies or groups I can get connected with to get to know people?
What version of the Bible do you use?
Is there a wide range of ages in the congregation?
How do I join the choir? Handbells?
People can come to Mt. Auburn dressed in a variety of ways. We don't expect to see suits and ties or dresses and heels. If you are a t-shirts and jeans person you will feel right at home. However, if for you, dressing your best to worship God feels like the right thing to do, you won't be discouraged. We're a "come as you are" type of church.
While our programs are always expanding and developing, we currently offer Christian Education programs for children to adults. The Education topic can provide more information. We also offer many opportunities for social interaction both among the children and the adults. Mt. Auburn Nights Out and the Open Stacks Book Club are just two of the ongoing opportunities for adults. For children, frequently the Nights Out opportunities are appropriate for children, and often we arrange Mt. Auburn Days Out options that are often well suited to kids.
At Mt. Auburn Presbyterian, we practice the radical hospitality of Jesus Christ. Our communion table is open to all, and by "all" we mean everyone regardless of . . . well, anything. If you breathe, you are welcome to share in the joyous celebration that is Christ's gift to us.
You may also want to know that we serve communion by "intinction". This means that people come forward (if able) and tear off a piece of bread and then dip it in the cup of wine (it's actually grape juice), then eat it when they are ready. Oh, and we're usually singing a joyful song when we do it. If coming forward isn't possible, that's OK. The communion servers will come to you.
Everyone is welcome to come after the worship service to Coffee Hour. Unless something else preempts this opportunity to gather, we serve up fellowship and refreshments every Sunday.
Our worship service is somewhat of a mix of contemporary and traditional. While we follow an Order of Worship each week, and read from Scripture, the sermons are contemporary and timely. The music we sing and hear during worship is a blend of traditional compositions, both spiritual and classical, as well as many pieces of world music from Africa or maybe South America. Our Chancel Choir or Handbell Choir are usually on hand (except during the summer months) to add to our worship of God. Despite our traditions, there is frequently a surprise or something special – a drama or staged reading, guest musicians. You never know what may happen.
Every Sunday morning (except during the summer months) before the worship service, the Children's and Adult Encounters programs meet for classes that help nurture both faith and fellowship. Then we hold our Worship Service that lasts for roughly an hour or more. After that, we gather for Coffee Hour so we can greet our visitors, catch up with one another, or maybe sign up for an upcoming opportunity.
Once you've been attending Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church for a little while, you may become interested in membership. If so, our Membership Committee would like to hear from you. They hold New Member classes at least twice each year which provides instruction about our denomination, our church, and opportunities available through our church. You aren't obligated to join our church after attending these classes. You can attend if you would just like to learn more.
You don't have to have been a Presbyterian before in order to join. Many of our members come from a variety of faith backgrounds. Membership at Mt. Auburn is a commitment to following the ways of Jesus by participating in a community that cares for one another, works for peace, strives for justice, and seeks to create wholeness for humanity. It is not a proclamation of a particular creed or dogma, but a willingness to join our community on a journey of faith.
Our Sunday morning Encounters series and our social opportunities are good opportunities for additional interaction with members. However, if what you are looking for is more activity centered on the Bible or opportunities to live out your faith, we have frequent programs along these lines as well. One of the programs to which we are dedicated is PAAD (Presbyterians Against the Death Penalty). They meet at our church each month. Check our bulletin for announcements of other activities that may be of interest.
In the pews, you'll find copies of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. However, when we read scripture during the worship service, we draw on a variety of different versions of the Bible. Sometimes it just depends on which one helps to illuminate the message in Scripture best. It's important to us that people can relate to what the Bible is saying, so we strive for clarity. We also will make use of "inclusive language" in referring to God, choosing words that reflect our understanding that all names for God are metaphors. While we usually sing in the traditional language of the church, we seek to use a multitude of God's many names in liturgy. "Mother", "Father", "Parent", "Creator", "Spirit of Life", "Sovereign One", are just some of the ways we refer to God.
Our congregation consists of people from all ages. Every Sunday, our worship service includes a "Moment with the Young Disciples" during which our pastor shares a brief story and prayer with our children. You never know what to expect during their interaction!! Many of our members are "long-timers" who have been coming to Mount Auburn for decades. There is also a generous mix of young parents, singles, couples, students from UC, and many members from the GLBT community. We see ourselves as an ever-widening family with room for everyone.
If you're interested in singing in the choir or participating in the handbell choir, just tug on the sleeve of Chris Miller, our Director of Music Ministry, and let him know. He'll be happy to have you join us at choir practice. Or you can just show up at practice. Thursday evenings (except during the summer months) is when both choirs rehearse; Handbells gets together at 6:30pm for an hour; the Chancel Choir gathers at 7:30pm for about 90 minutes.