Life in the Christian community has been patterned and shaped by the regular marking of time with Jesus for more than a thousand years. The holy moments of the Scriptures are lived out in baptism and the Lord’s Supper, to be sure, but Christian time is also lived out in the cycle of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost and Ordinary Time offer a sense of connection to the universal church and its liturgy, and a bit of traction for the Christian soul as it journeys with Jesus through a profound and timely celebration of his mission, message and method. Celebration of Jesus is the center of life at Wesley Church. All we do in mission and service springs from there.
The Season of Advent is the start of the church year. It begins on the Sunday that is four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. It is a time when we await with eagerness the birth of the Christ Child. It is a time to examine how the miracle of God’s coming to live with us can make us be more loving to others and less centered on our own comforts. It is a time to be aware that God has broken into human history. We are not alone.
We decorate the Atrium and Sanctuary with evergreens and poinsettias and wreaths and candles. We focus on what we can do for others. We choose how gifts can be directed to homes where money is limited. We celebrate with music from choirs and bells and brass and organ at our annual Christmas Vespers Service.
Christmas Eve is the gateway between Advent and Christmas. We plan for three Christmas Eve services: an early afternoon time for children and their families; an early evening candlelight service with the Ensemble music of guitar, piano, voice and drums; and a late evening Holy Communion candlelight service with organ and choir and hymns.
Christmas continues until January 6 the day of Epiphany or Three Kings Day. It is the day we celebrate the arrival of the Wise Ones, the Magi, who came to honor the baby Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and to symbolize that his birth is for the whole world.
Services will be held on Christmas Eve at 4 p.m. (Children’s Service); 7 p.m. (Contemporary Service); and 10 p.m. (Candlelight Service).
The name “lent” is a Germanic word, originally used to refer to the spring season generally. Over time, it replaced the Latin Quadragesima which means “forty days.” Lent lasts 40 days because, according to biblical accounts, Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days of fasting, meditation and reflections before beginning his ministry.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. The Sundays during Lent are not counted as part of the 40 days.
Lent is a time for self-examination. Wesley Church offers studies, sessions or group activities that look carefully at how our faith journey can lead us closer to God and to following Jesus.
The last days of Lent – Holy Week – is when we reflect on the last week of Jesus’ life. From Palm Sunday through Holy Thursday’s Tenebrae Service, Good Friday’s Living Stations of the Cross, and an all day vigil in the Chapel on Holy Saturday, we anticipate Easter Sunday as the day of resurrection.
We celebrate the joy of Easter with three worship services and special Atrium hospitality all morning long. The early, early morning service we call the Empty Tomb Service. Our regular worship services at 9:00 am and at 11:00 am are filled with special music of our Ensemble of guitars, voices, piano and drums, and our Chancel Choir, Children’s Choir, our bell choirs, organ and brass.
50 days after Easter is the birthday of the church, when the apostles were gathered in one place and experienced the real presence of the holy Spirit and began to speak. Those who heard them were amazed to hear words in their own language!
Wesley Church celebrates Pentecost by celebrating the many languages that are spoken by our members, as they read the story from Acts 2, aloud together. We urge everyone to wear red and we bring red banners into the Sanctuary..
The birthday of the church is a significant time for our Young Inquirers Confirmation Class to take their membership vows before the entire congregation.
A vital way we serve our church and the community is to welcome couples to celebrate their weddings at Wesley Church, including couples who are not members of our local church. We do not require couples to be United Methodists or to belong to any church. We do expect that either the bride or the groom is a baptized and faithful Christian. Each request is considered carefully; however, there are times when non-member weddings are not possible. We are excited to share our wedding ministry with a wide and diverse population in the Lehigh Valley. We will serve you so that your wedding will be a deeply spiritual experience, whether you are celebrating your wedding in your church home or entering a church for the first time in many years or for the first time ever. It is our pleasure to serve you at this important time in your spiritual journey. Another part of our role is to share insights that will help you experience abundant life through many years of marriage. Our prayer for you is that you will experience God’s blessing on your wedding day and throughout your life together.
Wesley Church does not “rent” the facilities for the purpose of weddings that do not include the ministry of this local church.
Funeral & Memorial Services
Wesley Church lives out the ministry of compassion during the most difficult times of human life. When a death occurs the pastor and church stand ready to be of service. When the death of a church member or constituent occurs, the pastor should be notified immediately. All arrangements for funerals or memorial services to be held at Wesley Church are made in consultation between the pastor, the family of the deceased, and the funeral home chosen by the family of the deceased.
A funeral held at the church is an order of service where the body or cremated remains of the deceased are present. When the body or remains are not present for the service, then a memorial service is planned at a time available for the family of the deceased, the pastor, and the church. Our pastor will meet with the family or representatives of the deceased to plan funeral and memorial services so that a dignified and honorable act of celebration and memorial can take place.
The Baptismal Covenant between God and us is a gift of God’s grace and love and an act of adoption into the body of Christ wherein we promise our faith and love to God. The baptized form the community of faith called the Church. We are baptized into the temporal and spiritual reality of the Christian Church and not into denominations.
We conduct our baptisms in the setting of public celebration. Private baptisms are separate from where the people of God gather to celebrate and pray and therefore do not connect the person being baptized with the church.
We predominately baptize infants by the method called “sprinkling.” However, children, youth, young adults and adults are acceptable candidates for baptism and the methods of “pouring” and “immersion” are practiced by United Methodists, though more rarely. The Sacrament of Baptism looks back with gratitude to the Baptism of Jesus and the beginning of his ministry, which included and incorporated all who were willing to follow him. Our baptism connects us to all that Christ has done, and what God has done, in and thorough God’s people, as well as to all that God is doing in the world now. Our baptism also calls us into a growing and maturing relationship with God, which invites us to a deep commitment of life in faith and practice.
Those desiring baptism for themselves or their children should contact our Minister of Discipleship, Bob Keiderling, http://firstname.lastname@example.org and make the necessary arrangements. At Wesley Church, we usually hold Baptism Sundays on the second Sundays of each month. Baptisms can be held during either the 9:00 a.m. or the 11:00 a.m. worship service. A Baptism Conference is scheduled before the baptism to discuss the theology and practice of baptism. Adult candidates, parents and sponsors are expected to attend.
Very important to United Methodists is the belief that Christ’s’ table is open to everyone who is willing to repent of their sins, to lie in love and charity with their neighbors, and to follow the commandments of God. We do not restrict the Lord’s Supper only to member of even only to United Methodists.
Everyone is invited to Christ’s table.
At Wesley Church, Holy Communion (or the Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist) is offered on the first Sunday’s of the month at both the 9:00 a.m. Contemporary Service and at the 11:00 a.m. Classic Service.
At 10:00 a.m., every Sunday, there is a short Communion Service in our Chapel.
Anointing for Healing
The act of imposing healing oils of gladness is ancient and prophetic (see Isaiah 61:3). To come to God for healing is an act of faith. Spiritual healing is not magic and it is not intended to substitute the healing that often comes from medicine and counseling. Rather, it is an offering of God’s love that works in us to bring wholeness of body, mind, spirit, and relationships.
Wesley Church holds occasional healing services during Sunday morning worship services. People are invited to participate in the ritual of spiritual healing by coming to the Chancel rails. People are greeted by the pastor or lay assistants. Oil is then imposed on foreheads or forehands with the words, “Receive the oil of gladness to heal you in body, mind, spirit, and relationship in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” The choice to participate is yours alone.