Special Services at St. Giles
Special services of worship that mark special seasons, days, and relationships enrich our life at St. Giles. We celebrate our church anniversary on the first Sunday of May and follow with a giant church dinner. Other worship celebrations include Thornwell Children’s Home Sunday in January, Rally Day in September, World Communion Sunday in October, Children’s Sabbath in November, Celebration of the Gifts of Women Sunday, and Stewardship Consecration Sunday. After every June youth mission trip, we hear from our mission team about who they met, what they learned, and how God is at work in other parts of the world.
Seasonal services include:
Advent is the four-Sunday season leading up to Christmas. Sunday morning worship features special musical guests (usually a harpist) and a “Lessons and Carols” service that includes the singing of Advent hymns and Christmas Carols. We’ve had Hanging of the Greens services before as well as Wholeness Services that some churches call Christmas Mourning or Blue Christmas services; while for many of us Advent/Christmastime is a joyous season, we are aware that for others of us it can be an emotionally stressful or sad time of year.
We celebrate two Christmas Eve services. Our earlier service, usually at 5:30 p.m., is geared for families of young children. Our late service, usually at 9 p.m., celebrates Holy Communion and candle lighting.
Epiphany is the season after Christmas where we are mindful of how Christ was revealed (manifested) to the world. We have celebrated an Epiphany service on January 6th (12 days after Christmas) in a variety of fashions, including with fireworks! This informal service often includes evening prayers, hot cider, and removing our Christmas decorations.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent—the forty days of preparation for Easter, not counting Sundays, when the church is particularly mindful of Jesus’ walk to Jerusalem, to the cross, death, a grave, and resurrection. Our Ash Wednesday service is proceeded by a Wednesday Night Celebration Dinner; the brief service includes prayers, scripture, and the imposition of ashes on our foreheads reminding us of our mortality, our human limits, and the grace of God which redeems and sustains us. These Ashen crosses remind us of who we are and whose.
Occasional Lenten services have included Jazz Vespers, mass choir events with area congregations (Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass), Blues Vespers, and preaching series.
During Holy Week, the week before Easter, we celebrate a Maundy Thursday meal and Communion service. (The word Maundy—not Monday—is Latin and means command or mandate; in John’s Gospel, we read that Jesus made clear his “new commandment” to love one another). In our Good Friday service we remember Jesus’ execution on a cross; this day is called “good” only because of Easter’s resurrection.
Easter at St. Giles usually features brass instruments, singing, preaching, and a choir loft full of last-minute volunteers joining in the choral benediction of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”
Other occasional services include Services for Wholeness, where we pray for the world, the healing of relationships and illness, and for God’s shalom/wholeness to strengthen us as we strive to bear healing to others.
Because we want the whole congregation to be enriched in worship, the pastor and elders bring Holy Communion to our home-bound church members every quarter: during Advent, Easter, Summer, and Fall.
God gives us reason to celebrate. Come worship God with us.