Come as you are
Some of us wear shorts and t-shirts, others wear suits and ties. On days when the Seahawks are playing, you’ll see lots of jerseys and even some blue and green hair! Wear whatever is comfortable for you. AWE (Alternative Worship Experience) services on the 3rd Sunday of each month are particularly casual. You’re also welcome to sit wherever you feel most comfortable.
What services are like
Services last about an hour. When you walk in, we’ll greet you and give you a bulletin. It will show you the order of the service so you can follow along. Most services include:
- A sermon of about 10 minutes.
- Singing and listening to different pieces of music. An asterisk will tell you when to stand, and a number will show which page to turn to in the black hymnal.
- Reciting text and prayers together. The words will be printed in the bulletin, including the words for the Lord’s Prayer.
- Passing the offering basket. There’s no pressure to give donations of any size.
- Listening to scripture from the Bible. The words are printed in the bulletin so you can follow along.
We don’t usually clap after music, and we don’t usually hold up our hands in service or shout “Amen!” but you should feel free to respond however the spirit moves you!
The AWE services on the third Sunday of each month typically have 3 short sermons, along with 3 short readings and 3 songs. And clapping is much more common. You might even witness some dancing!
What the music is like
You’ll hear lots of different types of music. Most Sundays, we sing a couple traditional hymns. But we incorporate lots of different styles of music into services: folk, gospel, international, classical, opera. You’ll hear a number of different instruments any given week: handbells, trombone, djembe, cello, violin, flute, and maybe even a Theremin. We’re very grateful for the number of musicians who share their talents with us, and hope you’ll enjoy the music and join in! Read more about the music ministry at First Congregational Church, Bellevue.
Just for parents
We welcome noisy kids and crying babies! Don’t worry about your child making a commotion in the service. We have activity bags at the back of the church to help keep little ones occupied.
Children from age 3 through 5th grade sit with their parents for a few minutes at the beginning of the service, and then usually come to the front of the church for a story. The bulletin will tell you when the children will come forward or head off to classes. It doesn’t happen quietly, so you won’t miss it!
You’re welcome to send your children with the other kids or accompany them. Children are also welcome to stay in church with you throughout the service.
After leaving the service, kids meet as a group and then are divided into five classes: Pre-K, K-1, 2-3, 4-5. In class, they typically read a story, have a snack, and do a craft project. On the first Sunday of the month, kids age 5 and older go back to the service for communion. Other Sundays, you pick up your children from the Children’s Education area upstairs after service.
Children in grades 6-8 and highschoolers stay in service and have youth group in the hour after service.
On the first Sunday of every month, we come to the front of the church to take and eat a small piece of bread (or a gluten-free cracker) and then take and drink a small cup of grape juice (or water). All are welcome to join in. This ritual reminds us of the fellowship Jesus shared with his disciples. We do it to show thanks for all God does and to remember Christ’s presence. It also reminds us that we are all one in the church.
Accessible to all
Large print bulletins and assistive listening devices are available as you enter the service. On Communion Sundays, if it’s difficult for you to come to the front of the church, we’ll bring the bread and juice to you.