Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the service?
We begin at 10:30am and typically end around 12:00pm.
Is there a dress code?
No, you can wear whatever you like.
Are you wheelchair accessible?
Yes. There is a step at the main entrance (90 Claremont Avenue), but if you enter on Broadway (3041 Broadway) at 121st Street, you can ask the security guard how to get to the elevator that takes you to the James Chapel where our service is. If you will come forward for communion and can’t go up the the steps for the platform, you can signal the servers and we will bring the elements to you.
What do I do with my kids?
1. Sign In
Before service begins, if you have children age 2 and older, sign your child in at the Welcome Table right outside the sanctuary. Make sure to obtain a name tag for each child, as this will help the volunteers get to know the children and check off the attendance list so the teachers know who to expect in their class. Children 6 - 23 months old can be dropped off in the nursery (room A-30) at 10:15am and remain there until the Lord’s Supper during service.
Children are invited to worship with their parents in the worship service until they are dismissed for Sunday School class prior to the sermon. But know, children are welcome to remain upstairs for the whole service.
3. Sunday School
At the pastor’s dismissal, Children’s Ministry volunteers will meet children at the back of the sanctuary and bring them to classrooms for Sunday School.
Parents are dismissed when the congregation is invited forward to receive the Lord’s Supper. Nursery children are picked up from the nursery. All other children are picked up from the long corridor directly below the narrow flight of stairs. Non-communing children (those who have not been admitted to the Lord’s Table by the elders) are prayed for by the elders. Families return to their seats together for the final hymn and close of service.
What do I do during the offering?
We take an offering each week after the sermon. This is a way for those who are part of our church community to support the work of our church. You do not have to give anything. This is also a time to reflect on the teaching you have just heard, to pray, to enjoy the music being offered, or to prepare your heart and mind for what comes next in the service, communion.
What do I do during communion?
We have communion/the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. Baptized Christians who are part of a Christian church are welcome to join us (you don’t need to be a member of our church or denomination). Our practice is that those in attendance come forward by row and are served the bread and cup. Many of our members take the elements and move to the side to pray or reflect before eating and drinking. We do use wine, but for those who refrain from alcohol for personal or theological reasons, the outer cups in the tray (the clear ones, as opposed to the purple ones) are grape juice.
Is it ok for people who are not Christian to come?
Yes, all are welcome to join with us. We hope to be a place where people who want to learn about Christianity can come and participate at whatever level they are comfortable. The last part of the service involves what the church calls “communion” or “the Lord’s Supper” – this is a Christian practice in which baptized Christians eat and drink together in a symbolic fashion (each person has a small piece of bread and small cup of wine) in remembrance of Jesus. Jesus tells his followers to do this, and we understand the Bible to teach that those who are not followers of Jesus should not eat and drink the elements that are served. You are welcome to be with us and observe as we do this. You are invited to come forward as others do, but instead of taking the elements you can simply keep your hands at your side and one of the servers will pray a brief prayer of blessing for you. Alternatively, you are welcome to remain in your seat and simply observe if that is preferable. We hope to create a non-pressure environment where people who are interested in Christianity can come and learn, but without being pushed on anything.
Are you affiliated with Union Theological Seminary?
No, we are grateful to rent such a beautiful and historic worship space from them on Sundays.
With what denomination are you affiliated?
We are part of the Presbyterian Church in America.
I don’t usually go to church – how will I know what to do?
When you enter you will be given a bulletin with the order of the service – this will guide everyone in what we are doing . Those who lead the service from the front will move us through the service so you shouldn’t have to guess what to do at any given time. The songs and written prayers will either be in the bulletin or on the screen on the platform (and sometimes both).