Tabernacle United Church

Progressive Christianity for a change

United Church of Christ and Presbyterian Church (USA)

3700 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104 - 215-386-4100 - Worship Sundays at 10 AM

We are called into compassionate community, Following Christ, Advocating for peace,
justice and reconciliation And celebrating God's loving embrace of all creation.

October is Stewardship season! Join us for worship at 10am on Sunday. Refreshments and fair trade coffee afterward.

Worship

Tabernacle's worship offers quiet in the midst of a noisy city. We gather in a chapel whose old wood and stained glass offer a healing alternative to the clutter of our working lives. Sometimes the space is beautifully bare; at times, banners or wide ribbons sway from the ceiling. They remind us of the movement of the seasons, and testify to the church's power to heal the broken world. The plain communion table serves as a focal point. It rarely holds the traditional arrangements of flowers; instead, a Celtic cross and the flame of a single oil lamp attract our eyes and direct our thoughts. The table may, at times, hold the crystal prayer bowl, slips of paper listing each member's promise for the coming year, a spray of orchids, a vase of greenery, or bare branches.

The service contains the sound of music and words, some as familiar as Scripture, some spontaneous and arresting. We may hear letters, poems, or passages from the newspaper. Some services include storytelling, drumming and sacred dance. The inclusive language of the New Century Hymnal is echoed in prayers and Scripture readings. The choir sings at many services; anthems and responses come from a variety of traditions, ranging from traditional sacred music, to gospel, international hymns, contemporary music, and chants from the Taize community. While the services follow a familiar pattern, there are moments of spontaneous expression. Early in the service, members of the congregation are invited to voice joys and concerns arising from their daily lives and those of family and friends. These often call for an immediate response, so, in the middle of a service we allow ourselves to laugh, applaud, cheer, or sometimes cry, reminding ourselves that we are a community.

The service contains music and words. But we remember that silence is just as necessary to our souls as sound and language. We seek to preserve the quiet of the sanctuary and to extend that quiet into the spirit of each worshipper. To that end, each service includes moments of complete silence. These moments may begin with the ring of the prayer bowl that slowly fades away, drawing us into meditation. Perhaps the most profound moments of quiet come at the end of the service when we form a prayer circle around the sanctuary. This is a time for praise and supplication, spoken and unspoken, words and thoughts that send us back to the world of work and love refreshed.

We hope you can join us Sunday mornings at 10:00. Child care and children's Sunday School are provided. All are welcome and celebrated.