Q. When are the services?
A. On Sunday mornings, our first service of worship begins at 9:00 a.m. Sunday School for all ages takes place from 10:15 to 11:00 a.m. The second service of worship starts at 11:15 a.m.
Q. What are the services like?
A. The first service at 9:00 a.m. is a reverent service with traditional elements throughout. We do not follow a formal liturgy, but we do worship together with responsive readings, corporate prayers, and the singing of (predominantly) hymns accompanied by the organ. The second service at 11:15 a.m. complements our first service but is less formal, and our singing is led at the piano and with the guitar. Hymns and praise choruses are projected.
Q. Do you take an offering?
A. Yes, ushers pass offering bags to receive the morning offering at each service.
Q. Are visitors and guests introduced?
A. No. Occasionally we might have a brief moment of “passing the peace,” but we do not ask guests to introduce themselves, put on special name tags, or anything similar. During the announcement time, you will be asked to fill out “The Connect Card,” a tear-off sheet attached to the bulletin to help us track attendance, and place it in the offering bag. Everyone will have something to put in the collection bag, but guests are not expected to contribute to the financial needs of the church. You will be invited to pick up a welcome packet at the Welcome Center in the narthex (lobby) following the service, if you would like.
Q. Is there a dress code?
A. Absolutely not! Folks come to Westkirk in a variety of dress. We all come to worship God, so dress should be clean and modest—but we are here to be with Him, not to impress one another.
Q. Is parking a problem?
A. Not typically. Since we expanded our parking lot and added a second Sunday morning worship service, there is currently no problem finding a spot to park.
Q. Where do my children go?
A. Children’s activities all take place on the east side of the building, where there is restricted access. All volunteers are screened with a background check. There is a consistent nursery attendant at all times on Sunday mornings and we supplement with additional volunteers on an as-needed basis.
Pre-schoolers and older children join us for worship and then are dismissed for “KidsKirk” during one of the hymns. This allows them to grow accustomed to worshipping with the grown-ups but also provides a worship opportunity that is developmentally appropriate. Feel free to keep your children with you or explore KidsKirk with them while they get accustomed to the new surroundings and faces. Once a child reaches 3rd grade, we begin to encourage them to worship in the “big church,” but children through 6th grade are accommodated. There are opportunities for the older children to serve during KidsKirk as well.
For Sunday School, children meet in a classroom with at least two adults and other children in their own age range. Depending on the size of classes, those ranges can change—but the idea is to have children together who are at the same level of learning and attention span.
Q. Is there a time of fellowship on Sunday mornings?
A. Yes. In addition to the “traveling time” between services, the Hospitality Room located west of the narthex is open for fellowship, with beverages and snacks.
Q. What about communion?
A. Westkirk celebrates the Lord’s Supper at each service on the second Sunday of the month (as well as during other times of the year). Open communion means that if you are a professing Christian who has put your faith and trust in God through Jesus Christ alone and are a member in good standing at a local church anywhere, you are free to partake communion with us. If you are “between churches,” the decision is one made between you and the Lord. Feel free to contact one of our pastoral staff if you are unsure.
During the first service, the communion elements are served to the congregation by the Elders. We hold each of the elements and then when directed, partake together. As part of our communion tradition, we typically stand afterwards and move toward the center aisle, placing our hand on the shoulder of the person next to us and, united together, sing the Lord’s Prayer. This is one of the most meaningful moments of worship each month for many at Westkirk.
During the second service, two pastors or Elders will hold the elements near the chancel area and when desired, worshippers come forward and are served individually. At this time, you should indicate to the server if you desire your children to receive the elements. Often, parents will bring their children to meet with one of the pastors to help them discern if their child is ready to take communion. A child who is ready to take communion is also ready to publicly profess his or her faith and be baptized, if they have not already done so.
Q. Do Presbyterians baptize babies?
A. Absolutely we do! We recognize the many symbols of God’s covenant with his people in the Old Testament as being fulfilled by baptism in the New Testament. As baby boys were once welcomed into the covenant family of faith through circumcision, so we welcome babies into the covenant family of faith through baptism today. So to fulfill the Great Commission and disciple our children, we happily baptize them. We do not believe that baptism guarantees salvation for anyone—infant or adult. But we do affirm our desire to live obediently to Jesus’ command by doing so. For fuller theological explanation, feel free to pick up one of the booklets, “Why Do We Baptize Infants,” by Bryan Chapell, in the narthex.
Q. What if I or my children have not been baptized?
A. We will happily discuss with you the biblical grounds for baptism. Baptism is one of the most joyous occasions in the life of the church. Here at Westkirk, we also baptize adults and older children—who have not previously been baptized—upon their profession of faith. And we baptize with either the sprinkling of water or by immersion. Both manners of baptism create a beautiful illustration of a part of our salvation.
Q. When do baptized children profess their faith?
A. The short answer is any time! Perhaps even all the time! But formally, in churches that traditionally baptize infants and small children, baptism comes first and the profession of faith comes later. To encourage this and discern the faith of our children, Westkirk offers a Confirmation class every other year for students in 7th and 8th grades. These students meet with the pastor over several weeks, study what the Bible teaches about our faith, and then receive an opportunity to make public profession of faith if they are ready and willing to do so.
The pastor preaches the same sermon at both Sunday morning worship services. Typically, we are preaching through a book of the Bible or a large section of a book of the Bible. Occasionally, there is a topical series, but even so, the sermon each Sunday offers a close look at a relevant text to that topic—understood in its proper context. This style of preaching is called “expository” preaching because its aim is to allow the natural, God-given meaning of the text to be emphasized during the sermon and then applied to our lives today. A typical sermon at Westkirk runs from 20-30 minutes.
Christians who worship and fellowship together in a Presbyterian context are historically known to be Reformed in theology. This means that we place a strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God in all things. While labels can hinder or help in understanding a person’s theological bent, it is safe to say that at Westkirk, we are covenantal in our understanding of redemptive history and Calvinists in our understanding of what the Bible teaches about salvation.