Each year special services of worship offer experiences that enliven particular worship seasons. Below are special opportunities to worship where all are welcome to experience God’s presence.
Healing and Wholeness
Services for prayer, music, and refection are offered quarterly for those in need of respite and solace. In the context of a community of faith, these worship services hold those with all varieties of needs in prayer and support. These can include grieving a loss, chronic or terminal illness, struggles with relationships, addictions, life transitions, and injustices in our community and world among other needs.
Each year on December 24, three worship services are offered: A Service for Children and Families, A Service of Communion, and A Candlelight Service. Christmas is when the church celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas proclaims the “incarnation” or “God made flesh.” We celebrate Christmas because it is the fulfillment of God’s saving grace that begins with birth of Jesus.
The Service of Ashes on Ash Wednesday begins the liturgical season of Lent. We acknowledge our humanness and that we fall short of the glory of God in our actions. We receive the sign (imposition) of ashes on our forehead with the words “remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” The season of Lent is one marked by penitence and turning toward God that leads the church to Easter. We recognize God’s call to us through Christ to turn from self-serving ways toward living in the ways of God.
Holy Week, the week leading to Easter, begins with Sunday morning service of worship called Palm Sunday. We remember the way that Christ gave his life for with love for the world. At the beginning of the service that recalls Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem, the crowd waves palm branches (as does the congregation). As the story continues, it turns to the demand for Jesus’s crucifixion.
Holy Week: Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday begins the “Triduum” or the three days before Easter. The service remembers the “Last Supper” as told in the scriptures and the call that Christ gave humanity to love one another and to serve.
Holy Week: Good Friday
On Good Friday, the church in worship remembers the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Holy Week: Easter Vigil
The Great Vigil of Easter is on Saturday and when celebrated is the first service of Easter. Highland Presbyterian Church celebrates the vigil the afternoon on Saturday. The service has four movements. The first is the Service of Light where the light of Christ is celebrated at which a new fire is kindled. The second movement is the Service of Readings, which recalls salvation history through selected readings from the Bible. The Service of Baptism is the third movement, which is a time for renewal of the Baptismal Covenant. The fourth is the Service of the Lord’s Supper, which is a joyful feast in the presence of the risen Christ.
Easter Sunday is the festival of the Resurrection of the Lord! In worship, the church proclaims the good news that Jesus is risen from the dead. Easter is a celebration of the powerful grace of God that overcomes death for a future God authors that is marked by peace, harmony, and equality that is to come, and for which the church dreams of. Resurrection is a promise revealed and hope for human participation in God’s new beginning and holy activity. The shape of things to come is revealed in Easter.
On the first Sunday of July, a Jazz Communion Service is celebrated during morning worship. It is a lively celebration of worship in the presence of God.
Blessing of the Animals
On the Saturday closest to the Feast Day of St. Francis (October 4), we host a Blessing of the Animals on the front lawn of the church’s Pleune-Mobley Building. We invite people to bring pets in proper cages or on leashes for a brief service of prayer and to receive a blessing. A Blessing of the Animals, in many congregations, witnesses to God’s and the church’s love, care and concern for all creation. October 4 is a traditional day for such a celebration as it is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology in Roman Catholic tradition. While Presbyterians don’t maintain the practice of honoring patron saints, the Feast Day of St. Francis is a time commonly given to offer gratitude and thanks to God for the gift of creatures great and small and the beloved relationship between humanity and creatures in our care (and who care for us).