What kind of church is this? The First Presbyterian Church of Columbia has always been Presbyterian since it was established in 1854. It is, and has always been, a community church as well. We actively reach out to our neighbors, to bring the love of Christ to them in their spiritual and material needs.
When are worship services? We gather for worship every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. in the sanctuary. The worship of God is a joy and a gift. Everyone is welcome to attend our worship service. It doesn’t matter if you have no religion, are of another religion, or if you’ve never been to church before. We’ll be glad you’ve come, and we look forward to offering you hospitality. We invite you to fill out your contact information on the “gold sheet” found in the bulletin so that we can get to know you better.
What is the nature and length of the worship service? Our service has a traditional structure, with music, liturgy and sermon. The Lord’s Supper is served at least monthly. The service begins at 10 a.m. and usually concludes by 11:15.
How should I dress for church? Any way you’d like − we don’t have a dress code! You’ll see dressed-up people and people wearing shorts. Please wear whatever is comfortable for you.
What kinds of music will I hear? What you’ll hear depends on the Sunday. On the first and third Sundays, we have a choir singing classical anthems and leading the congregation in hymns. On the second Sunday, you’ll hear praise songs and jazz. On the fourth Sunday you’ll hear Country Western music with guitar and fiddle. Our worship instruments include piano, organ, guitar and fiddle, and hand bells for special occasions.
What kinds of sermons will I hear? Sermons are scriptural, Christ-focused and practical for everyday living. Link to sermons.
How do I get to your church? We are adjacent to the Columbia State Historic Park, with two entrances from Parrotts Ferry Road – if you miss the first at Jackson Street, after rounding the corner you have a second chance at Gold Street! Link to street & campus maps
Where can I park? Most people park in either the paved or gravel lot on Jackson Street in front of the church, or you may drive between the sanctuary and Faith Hall, turn right, and park in the back lot.
Where do I go first? Head to the sanctuary, where you’ll find nametags in the entry (narthex) so others can greet you by name. Friendly greeters stand outside on the sidewalk leading to the sanctuary, ready to meet you and answer any questions you might have. And ushers stand inside the sanctuary to greet and distribute worship bulletins.
What about my kids? We are always delighted to welcome children into our worship, and children of any age may stay with their families during the service if they wish. After the first few minutes of worship, the children are invited up to the chancel for a Young Disciples Moment, and then they’re dismissed to Sunday School held directly underneath the sanctuary. Or, they can return to the pew to sit with you. We also have a family room underneath the sanctuary with the service piped in, for those who wish a more comfortable space to worship with their young children.
How will I know what to do in the service? When you enter the sanctuary, an usher will greet you and provide a bulletin with the order of service. The prayers, song lyrics, and Scriptures are also shown on large screens. For much of the liturgy and many of the hymns and worship songs, the parishioners are asked to stand, if they are able. Feel free to stay seated if that is not comfortable for you.
What version of the Bible is used? We generally use the New International Version (NIV), which is the version in our pew racks. The Scriptures for the service can also be read from the screens.
How many people attend worship? We are a friendly community of believers, with an average of 80 worshippers on Sundays. Our historic sanctuary seats about 165.
When and how is Communion celebrated? Communion (also called the Last Supper) is celebrated during worship every first Sunday of the month. Jesus Christ provided this sacrament as a way for His followers to remember and renew our faith in Him. The bread recalls His body, given for us, and the cup recalls His blood, shed for the forgiveness of our sins. If you honor Jesus as your Savior we invite you to receive communion. The bread (gluten-free is available – ask an usher) is served first while we’re seated in the pews, and held until all can partake together, and then grape juice is served in a similar manner.
What kind of disability assistance is available? We have a wheelchair-accessible ramp to the right side of the sanctuary, and two pews on the left side are shorter to allow room for wheelchairs. If you use a walker, the ushers can find a safe place to store it during the service. We have assistive listening devices – just ask an usher. And a handicap-accessible restroom is in the right rear of the sanctuary, through the right-side entry door.
What happens after the service? Food, drink and conversation! At the end of the service, everyone is invited to Faith Hall for fellowship and healthy refreshments. Faith Hall is our large social hall, across the driveway from the right side of the sanctuary. We hope you will come on over and say hello.
Can I meet with the Pastor? What if I need prayer? If you’d like someone to pray with you, or you are experiencing any hardship or difficulty – please let us know. Pastors Janet and Lee can be found in Faith Hall after the service. Or, leave a note on the “gold sheet” and put it into the offering plate, or contact the office during the week (209-532-2441).
Are there classes for adults? Yes indeed! During the school year, there are regular Bible studies for everyone on Mondays just before the Community Dinner, for women on Tuesday afternoons, and for men on Thursday mornings. In addition, Presbyterian Women has monthly group meetings, with Bible studies and missions projects. Men have a monthly prayer breakfast. There are also special Bible studies from time to time.
Do I have to put something into the offering plate? Not if you don’t want to. The offering is an act of worship and thanksgiving for Christians. It’s how we act on our belief that everything we have comes from God, who teaches us to be generous. Offerings support the ministry of our church and various outreach and mission programs locally, across the United States and throughout the world. If you are a visitor, you are welcome to let the offering plate pass you by. If you decide to make the Church of the 49ers your church home, we hope you will consider regular participation in our offering. You can choose from many different ways to contribute your time, talents, and resources.
Do I have to become a member to get involved? No. All are welcome to participate in worship, church ministries and activities. When you feel God prompting you toward membership, you are welcome to attend an Inquirers’ Class − held about three times yearly. Link to Membership.
How can I get connected? On the “gold sheet” included in the bulletin, fill out your contact information and place it in the offering plate. Say “hello” to those seated near you. After worship, head over to Faith Hall for a cup of coffee and refreshments with the Church of the 49ers family. Join us for dinner on Mondays at 6:00 p.m. in Faith Hall or participate in any of our other ministry programs. (link to Community Dinners/Mission page Joining a small group is one of the best ways to get to know God and others.
Check out the rest of our website for more answers!