Worship at Kirk in the Hills
Central to our being, worship at Kirk in the Hills is reverent, representative, relevant and rooted in tradition. Visitors, friends and congregants are warmly greeted by members and welcomed by an usher who hands each worshiper a bulletin. The bulletin is designed to enhance the worship experience. The art and quote on the bulletin cover are specially selected - intended to draw people into worship, to serve as a visual descriptor for scripture and to support the sermon. Individuals are encouraged to ponder and meditate on the bulletin beyond their worship experience. Those gathered in the sanctuary are surrounded by the Great Commandments; the first is carved in stone on the west wall and the second on the east wall. These scripture verses are an ever-present reminder of what is at the heart of our coming together.
The choir gathers in the narthex for the introit and, following the opening voluntaries, the ringing of the tower bell invites the congregation to stand and lift their voices in singing the Processional Hymn, with acolytes leading the procession of the choir(s) and pastor(s). As an acolyte lights the candles on the altar, we are reassured that Christ is the light of the world; seeing an acolyte carry the Bible assures us that the Word will be preached; and the acolyte who processes with the cross reminds us that while Christ died for us, he is among us and is the foundation of our work in the world.
Worship is strengthened through the Kirk’s Music Ministry—music is intrinsic to the Kirk’s DNA. In addition to the professional adult choir who sings weekly, multiple choirs for boys and girls (age four through grade twelve) sing regularly in worship throughout the year. The importance of children and families is recognized by all, as the young (through third grade) come forward and participate in the Word with the Children, during the first service.
Each week as we all participate in worship, we experience and are reminded of God’s forgiveness, love and presence. We seek to worship God through our anthems, hymns, prayers, offerings and responses, in addition to hearing scripture read and preached/proclaimed. On the first Sunday of each month, we gather around the Lord’s table, and we rejoice when we have the opportunity to join in the sacrament of baptism. We glorify, praise and give thanks to God through our liturgy: The Gathering. The Word, The Thanksgiving, The Sending.
Standing, everyone gathered sings the Recessional Hymn. The acolytes, once again preceding the choir(s) and clergy, now lead the enriched and exalted community of faith, who, upon leaving the sanctuary, is processing into the world for ministry and mission. Empowered to love and serve others, discerning God’s purpose for our lives—ideally, we learn that everything in life should revolve around worship. Quoting a former Kirk Pastor: “We come to see worship as an indispensable resource for living.”
In the summer month’s (Father’s Day through Labor Day weekend), we enjoy worship in the natural beauty of the Columbarium Garden with our 9:00 a.m. Garden Service, weather permitting. (In inclement weather, the Garden Service is moved indoors to the Sanctuary.) Following the service, coffee hour is enjoyed on the Front Patio. International carillonneurs perform recitals on the 77-bell Kirk carillon as part of our Summer Carillon Series. The Garden Service is an inspiring way for young and old alike to worship outdoors amid God’s natural beauty and enjoy music and fellowship during our glorious Michigan summers.