Visiting

If you are a visitor (or a member, for that matter) someone will likely notice you on Sunday morning and engage you in conversation.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask someone sitting around you. We think that you will find that we are a pretty friendly bunch of people. 

 

Where is the church and when do you worship?

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St. Stephen is located just off Route 11, between Carlisle and Mechanicsburg. Coming from Carlisle, you can either turn right into our driveway just before the Locust Point intersection, or you can continue to the stop light, turn right, then turn right again on Main St. Coming from Mechanicsburg, it's easiest to turn left onto Locust Point, then turn right onto Main St. We are located next to Trinity United Methodist Church, with ample parking lot parking. The main, covered, entrance is located off of the parking lot, but you can also enter through the doors on Main St. (these doors will place you right into the back of the sanctuary)

We worship on Sundays at 8:00 AM and 10:45 AM. 

What do I wear?

Dress the way you feel most comfortable. At St. Stephen, you will find people wearing everything from jeans and T-shirts to slacks and polo shirts to business casual to suit and tie or dress. God loves you no matter what you wear, and we can pretty much guarantee that you will find at least a few other people similarly dressed.  Whatever you look like when you walk in the door, we’ll be glad that you have joined us!

Do I need to bring anything?

No, everything you need will be provided. If you enter through the main doors (off of the parking lot), a greeter will meet you at the door and an usher will provide you with the worship bulletin as you enter the sanctuary. If you enter off of Main St., you can pick up a worship bulletin on your right as you enter the narthex area at the rear of the sanctuary. The worship bulletin includes almost everything you need: hymn numbers, readings, and prayers. The only other thing you'll need is the hymnal, which you will find in the pew rack in front of you. You may bring your own Bible, if you like. 

Will I have to stand up and introduce myself?

Visitors do not have to introduce themselves during the worship services.  However,  you will have a chance to meet the people around you before and after services as well as when the peace is passed during the service. We also invite you to apprise us of your presence by signing the dark red attendance pad, located near the center aisle of each pew. The pastor may contact you after the worship service using this information. 

 

 

What are the services like?

Worship is an encounter with God, who saves us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  For Lutherans, God’s Spirit calls us together, speaking to us through readings from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, through preaching, prayer, and song.

God feeds and nourishes us in a saving way through the sacrament of communion. And God blesses us and sends us in mission to the world.  Thus, Lutherans believe that God’s presence permeates all of Christian worship. We strive to be active participants.

The cross is the central symbol that marks our worship space, but there are many other symbols and beautiful stained glass windows to keep us focused during worship.

Traditionally, Lutherans sing much of the service.  You may simply listen, if you wish. The lyrics reflect the main ideas of the scriptures for the day. When we Lutherans lift our voices in song, our singing is a witness to our conviction that we are being drawn in to God’s own saving story. Through the sermon, our Pastor provides insight from the day’s scriptures and show us how we can find the Good News relevant to our lives today.

Other parts of the service include: 

  • The Invocation:  We call on the name of our Savior God as we praise him.
  • Confession and Forgiveness:  Standing together to admit our sin and receive forgiveness, we acknowledge that we have not always done what God asks.  Then we are assured of forgiveness because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.
  • Bible Readings:  We hear selections from God's Old Testament prophets, Jesus' apostles, and from Jesus himself in the Gospels. We also read or sing a Psalm responsively.
  • Response to the Word:   We respond with offerings, hymns, and prayers for the things God has promised to us and for strength to do what he has asked. 
  • Holy Communion: All who desire to meet Jesus in the meal He instituted are welcome at the Lord’s Table.  The ushers will dismiss each pew one-at-a-time, beginning from the back, to go towards the communion table and line up at the communion rail. The Pastor or communion assistant will distribute the bread, which you receive in your palm, and eat when you are ready. Gluten-free wafers are available, just indicate to the server if you would prefer one of these wafers. Another communion assistant will come to you with the wine in pre-filled glasses. If you prefer to receive grape juice, please cross your arm over your chest, and they will be happy to provide you with grape juice. You may remain at the rail for as long as you like for prayer. Then return to your pew by the respective side aisle.  If you are unable to walk to the front  of the church, please notify an usher as your pew is being dismissed, and Holy Communion will be brought  to where you are seated.  
  • Parting blessing:  We hear one last assurance of God's care. Renewed, we go out into the world to share the Good News and serve our Lord.
What is the music like?

Our services contain music from Lutheran hymn books, choral pieces, chime arrangements, and special offerins played on the organ or piano.  The Choir sings at both services (September-May), and the Children's Choir sings occasionally. During the summer months, individuals and groups offer Special Music. 

The music of the liturgy changes with the seasons of the church.


 

What about my kids?

St. Stephen loves kids, and welcomes children in worship! Activity bags for children are available at the usher's station, and there are signs on the back of each pew with some additional suggestions for keeping children content during the worship service. We believe God put the "wiggle" in little kids, and want children to know that they have a place in God's house, too. Please dont't worry too much if your child makes noise or moves around. Kids are important people in our congregation and we want them to be seen and heard. 

 

Both of our worship services include a children’s message. Pastor will invite the children to come forward after the reading of the Gospel to spend a few minutes with them on the altar step learning about the day’s Bible story. Parents are welcome to come forward with their kids if it makes them more comfortable.

If your child really isn’t in a worshiping mood, we have a nursery available for your use. During the 8:00 worship service, the nursery is usually staffed by a volunteer. During the 10:45 worship service, it is usually unattended, but you are welcome to sit in the nursery with your children. The nursery is equipped with a sound system, so you can still hear the service, and also includes a changing table, crib, and child’s size bathroom. Some parents choose to let their kids play in the nursery during the sermon and then bring them back into worship in time for Holy Communion.     

I like St. Stephen. How do I become a member?

We welcome anyone and everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or ethnic background to become a member of St. Stephen. New members classes are offered periodically throughout the year.  Joining the church means affirming your faith in God and committing to live out your faith at this point in your life in this congregation.

Don’t worry, though! There is no pressure to formally join the church. So if you decide you want to join, great. If not, that’s fine, too. We will still welcome your full participation in activities, worship leadership, learning, and service. 


Have other questions? Please call us at (717) 766-2168 and we will be happy to speak with you!

 

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