Our goal is to make your first visit feel like you have come home…for indeed, you have! The following is a snapshot of what you can expect as a first-time visitor to First Pres.
Who Will Be There?
People that are visiting family and friends in Ann Arbor, those moving to our community, those seeking a new church home, long-time members and regular attenders - in short, people of all ages and backgrounds! Because we are are adjacent to the University of Michigan campus, we have a regular influx of students and faculty at all services. Although we are a Presbyterian Church (USA) congregation, we have many folks from other faith backgrounds. We value the diversity of our theological journeys and appreciate our differences as we seek to know and love the God we know in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
What to Wear?
We promote a “come as you are” atmosphere for worship. Worshipers wear everything from khakis to dresses or suits. In this university community, people often dress more casually. Our youth often wear jeans or shorts. Our older members tend to dress more formally. Feel free to wear clothing that makes you feel comfortable.
Our main parking lot, including the spaces along our Hill Street property, include several spaces for those with limited mobility. Parking is free on Sundays at the Forest Street Parking Structure, just a short walk down Forest Court from the church. We encourage our members to park there, so that visitors can more easily find their way into the building. On Sundays, you may also park along Hill Street, or in front of the church along Washtenaw Avenue.
Entering the Church Building
Greeters are at all the entrances to the buildings on Sunday mornings. They are there to help you feel welcome and find your way. Please feel free to ask any question you may have. If the greeter or usher doesn’t know the answer, he or she will certainly know where to find it. Clergy can easily be identified by their clerical collars. Don’t hesitate to approach us. We all love to help!
The Worship Experience
You will be greeted again as you enter the sanctuary. An usher will provide a bulletin that includes the Order of Worship, and announcements. They will escort you (if desired) to a seat of your choice, or escort those in need of child care or Sunday School rooms to their desired location. You can get a hearing-assist device from an usher if you are attending the 9:30 or 11:00. Our music is both diverse and traditional. It is lively and joyous! In every service, we sing familiar hymns, as well as try new ones. Please consider joining in with our Chancel Choir or any of our youth choirs or youth programs. For more information on these, leave a note in the pew pad, speak to a pastor, or call the Church Office.
Communion and Baptism
We celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the 8:00 a.m. service each week. On the first Sunday of the month, we celebrate this Sacrament at 9:30 and 11:00 in the Sanctuary. For 8 and 11 a.m., folks come forward as the ushers direct them, take a wafer or piece of bread (gluten-free wafers are available in the small cups on the trays held by the servers), and dip it in the cup of juice, then take the elements. At 9:30, the trays will be passed to you in the pews, and you take the bread and juice as you feel led. For the first Sunday of the month, at all services, people bring non-perishable food items to bring forward during the last hymn. As we are fed at the Lord's Table, we invite you to share from your gifts as we help feed the hungry. The Sacrament of Baptism is offered to people of all ages who request it and take a baptism preparation class. For infant baptism, one of the parents must be a member of the church, in good standing. To inquire about joining, or about scheduling a baptism, contact the Church Office.
We Want to Welcome You
During the service, a Friendship Pad is passed for all worshipers to sign. Please take a moment to sign it so church members can greet you after the service and so we may send you a personal welcome during the following week. Your email, phone number, and address will be helpful to us, and we promise not to share with with anyone. It is limited to use in our ministry of hospitality. You will not be identified in a public way as a visitor. We understand that some people prefer to worship anonymously. If you share your email address, you will begin to receive a very brief weekly email, with a few highlights coming in weeks ahead at First Pres. This is something you can easily opt out of if you wish.
Our church, like all congregations, is sustained by the time and treasure of members and friends. Most members of the church pledge a certain amount of support each year, so that the church can form a budget. As a guest, we feel that your presence with us is your gift to us. You should feel no obligation to give. If you choose to give, there are envelopes in the pews that you can use for cash or checks.
Need More Information?
The Welcome Center is located on the floor where you enter the building. It is staffed by a friendly and knowledgeable church member. In the welcome center, you can find brochures about the church programs, and pick up sermons by our pastors over the last three months. You may also find posters with information about upcoming activities, and sign up for events there.
What Happens After Church and Between Services?
In a word…lots! After the 8 a.m. service, fellowship is held in the hallway, to meet and greet old and new friends. After the 9:30 service, at 10:30 a.m, worshipers leaving the 9:30 and those coming to the 11:00 service are invited to come to Social Hall (one floor beneath the Sanctuary) and get a cup of coffee or lemonade, a homemade cookie, some goldfish, or a donut. Church members will greet you, and you are encouraged to greet others. On most Sundays, there will be tables with information about upcoming activities. We always have a table with cards for particular members and friends of First Pres who are ill or recovering, and we encourage all - including our visitors - to sign them with sentiments of prayer and care.