|Frequently Asked Questions|
What Visitors Ask about Visiting Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Ewing, NJ
1. Where is the church located?
The address for the church is 2220 Pennington Road in Ewing, NJ. It's about a half mile south of the intersection of Interstate 95 and Highway 31 which links Pennington and Ewing. You will see the two rows of solar panels on the north side of the church property that provides electricity to our church building and to the community.
2. I don't have much church background. Am I welcome here?
Yes, absolutely! Everyone is welcome here, especially visitors and people with little church background! We believe God has a special place in God's heart for those who are searching and may have questions or even doubts about God, the spiritual life, or joining a community of faith. We will offer you opportunities to grow in your faith in God and spiritual life. We also recognize that people may be at different places in their faith journey and may want to proceed at their own pace in that journey. We are comfortable with people from other faith traditions and denominations. Our congregation is made up of many different types of people and families with varied backgrounds, and we appreciate and welcome the diversity of experience and life history that they bring.
3. The name of this church is Abiding Presence Lutheran Church. What does it mean that it is a "Lutheran" church?
This church is a part of the large Protestant branch of the Christian Church that traces back to a church reformer named Martin Luther. Luther was a Catholic monk who lived in the 1500's A.D. He sought to bring the Roman Catholic Church back to its ancient core mission of proclaiming the good news of God's free and unmerited love and forgiveness to all people through faith in Jesus, but he and his followers were forced out and formed the Lutheran church.
Among Christians, the Lutheran tradition is a kind of bridge between Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox since it shares some aspects of all three great traditions of Christianity. The ordered liturgy of the Lutheran worship service and the importance of the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion have many similarities to the Roman Catholic, Episcopal and Orthodox traditions. But the Lutheran church also shares with other Protestants (e.g., Presbyterians, Methodists) a strong emphasis on the Word of God and the importance of the Bible as the vehicle for God's living Word for us today.
Lutherans number 70 million people worldwide. Our congregation belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which includes about 4.6 million members. For more information, go to this web address: www.elca.org
4. What should I wear when I attend worship services or other events at the church?
The church has no dress code. You will see a variety of clothing among worshippers that ranges from somewhat formal (dresses and skirts for women, suits and ties for men) to much more casual styles of clothing. The Saturday evening service at 5:30 p.m. tends to be quite informal. We believe God accepts us as we are, both inside and out.
5. Where do I park? How do I enter the building?
Our large parking lot includes designated spaces for visitors near the front of the parking lot. The entrance to the church is on the parking lot side of the building and is clearly marked.
6. Is the building handicapped accessible?
Yes. There are no steps as you enter the church building, and most of the building is on one level. There are a few classrooms in the basement that are easily accessible by an elevator.
7. How long does the worship service usually last?
Sunday morning worship services typically last about an hour and fifteen minutes. On Saturday evening, services typically end after a little less than an hour.
8. Are children welcome to attend the worship services? Is there a nursery available for younger children?
Children are very welcome to attend worship services. We have a special time for young children (usually 2-8 years of age) in worship called the "children's sermon" when the pastor calls the little children up to come together in the front of the church for a brief Bible lesson. We have children's activity bags and special children's bulletins available just outside the doors into the main worship room which children can pick up to occupy them during the worship service, if they wish. We also have a nursery staffed with one or two adults every Sunday morning for younger children (infants through 5 years of age). As you enter the main entrance to the church, turn right through a pair of double doors and the nursery is just down the hall on the left.
9. Is there a Sunday School program, children's choir, or a summer Vacation Bible School program available for my children in addition to attending worship services?
Yes! Our congregation has a strong and dedicated Sunday School program for children from pre-school to 12th grade and an adult education program as well. We also have pre-communion instruction, a two-year confirmation program, and two excellent choirs for children and youth. We offer Vacation Bible School every summer.
10. What if I or my child need to get up and leave in the middle of the worship service?
If a need arises, feel free to leave quietly and return as you are able. Restrooms are available just off the narthex or front entrance foyer. Fussy children may be taken out into the narthex, the fellowship hall, or the nursery. There is a speaker in the nursery so you will be able to hear the worship service and sermon if you stay with your child in the nursery. Times when the congregation is singing a hymn are often good times to make a quiet exit, but you can do so at any point in the worship service.
11. Will I have to introduce myself or stand up to be recognized if I am a visitor at a worship service?
No, we do not ask visitors to stand up during the service and introduce themselves. However, we hope you will feel welcome and perhaps stay for our fellowship time of refreshments and conversation after the Sunday morning services, if you wish. If you wish to make your presence known, please fill out a visitor card (found in the back of the chair in front of you during worship) and put it in the offering plate or give it to an usher. But if you want to stay anonymous and just check us out, that's fine, too!
12. How will I know what to do during the worship service?
Each worshipper is given a worship bulletin by an usher as they enter the worship area. The bulletin provides the outline of the worship service, the Scripture texts for the day, and the page numbers for the liturgy (the various parts of the worship service) and the hymns or songs that we sing at each service. These page numbers refer to the red book available in the seat for each worshipper entitled Evangelical Lutheran Worship.
13. As a visitor, am I expected to contribute to the offering that is taken at each worship service?
We ask our members to contribute financially as they are able to help support the ministry of our local congregation as well as the mission of the larger church both nationally and worldwide. We offer our financial gifts to God as an act of thanksgiving for all that God has already given us and as a way of participating joyfully in God's mission of love and service to our community and our world.
If you as a visitor wish to contribute to our congregation's ministry, you are most welcome to do so. However, no one is required to make a financial offering.
14. Can I take Holy Communion when I visit the worship service?
We welcome all people (of whatever age) to the Lord's table to take the bread and wine of Holy Communion a) if you have been baptized in any Christian tradition or denomination and b) if you have taken communion in your home congregation.
If you are not a baptized Christian or if you have never taken communion but would like to explore how to do so, please talk to one of the pastors after the worship service or call the church office during the week. They would be delighted to discuss with you what baptism and communion mean and how you might prepare to participate in a meaningful way.
15. How is Holy Communion served during the worship service?
At the appropriate time in the worship service, the ushers will direct worshippers (one row at a time) to walk up to the front of the church where you can either stand or kneel to receive the bread and wine of communion. You will be offered two options. You will receive the bread first from a pastor or communion deacon. You may hold onto the bread and then dip it into the cup of wine that will follow the bread and eat the bread dipped in wine all at once (this is called "intinction"). Or you may receive the bread first, eat it immediately, bypass the intinction cup, and instead drink the wine directly from the larger wine cup carried by a third person.
Young children who do not receive communion may come up with their parents or guardians and receive a spoken blessing from the pastor.
If you do not wish to receive communion, you may simply remain in your seat as others in your row go up for communion.
16. What happens after the worship service?
Coffee and refreshments are served in the fellowship hall after each Sunday morning worship service. It's a time for meeting people and informal conversation. During the school year after the 8:15 a.m. Sunday service, an adult forum and Sunday School classes for children of all ages is offered at 9:30 a.m. for all who wish to participate.
17. What does it mean to be a member of Abiding Presence Lutheran Church?
All are welcome to join us for worship services and to take part in the many other church activities and groups during the week, whether you are an official member of the congregation or not. If you wish to make a deeper commitment to our life and work as a congregation, you may officially join as a "member" of the congregation. Membership allows you to vote at congregational meetings and to serve as an officer or leader in some aspect of the church's ministry. Membership expectations include attending worship regularly, receiving Holy Communion, and contributing through offerings of your time, talents and financial resources to the work of Abiding Presence Lutheran Church.
18. How can I get more information about the church and its programs?
We invite you to read through our web site for more information about specific programs, opportunities, small groups, and projects. Feel free to contact one of the pastors, the church office, or other members of the congregation if you have further questions. You can also request that the monthly newsletter with information and a calendar of events be sent to you. Please come, check us out, and join us for worship!