Worship

Woven together in prayer and praise

Worship at Westminster

Worship at Westminster is an experience we create together, not a performance to be observed. We offer our worship to God as an expression of our shared hopes and yearnings, our shared sadness and joy.

When we worship well, we leave more deeply connected to ourselves, to each other, and to God. Our lives are shaped by what we have encountered during the service: a living God who is active in the world, loving us, and transforming our lives and our world.

What do we believe?

Our community welcomes everyone–those who have a deep Christian faith and those who are exploring, questioning, learning, seeking, or doubting. We see faith not as something you either have or don’t have but rather a journey that we travel together, making discoveries as we go (see Luke 24:13-35).

Becoming a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church includes responding to a series of questions. Most of these questions focus on our commitment to live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the practices of our church community. Only one question includes the word belief–and it starts with a question about trust: “Do you trust in the Lord Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledge him Lord of all and Head of the Church, and through him believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

While our members may hold different beliefs about many things, this question clearly identifies the basis on which we build our life together: trust in Jesus Christ and belief in one triune God.

Who we are

What is a Sunday morning worship service like at Westminster?

Our service follows a similar order each week, a sequence of songs and hymns, scripture readings, prayers and a sermon by our Minister. Most Sundays, our worship includes a special Time for Children when one of our leaders shares with our kids (in-person and online) or some of our children share their own reflections on a Bible story, a holiday, or a season. We observe the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Previous Worship Services

More basic questions and answers about Presbyterian worship can be found here: https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/worship/faq/

Music at Westminster

Westminster has a reputation for offering music of the highest quality during worship as well as hosting other special musical events. We are a diverse urban church with a variety of ministries, one of which is the ministry of music. We believe that music is an essential part of our spirituality: we view music not just as a performance but as an expression of our faith. We hold dear the tenet that music should reflect all who gather to worship, near and far, as we gather in-person and virtually. We believe it is important to encourage all members of the church to participate in the music ministry.

The Westminster Choir

The Westminster Choir welcomes you! We rehearse on Thursday evenings from September till June and sing every Sunday morning (with few exceptions). In addition to our regular Sunday duties, the choir also sings at special worship services (Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, FOCUS services). We welcome singers of all abilities. Please speak with our music director, Susan Sady, either in person after a Sunday service or by email (music@wpcalbany.org). We’d love to have you join us!

The Westminster Organ

Westminster Church is home to a world-famous organ, designed by Ernest Skinner (1866-1960) who is considered by many to be the finest pipe-organ builder America has ever produced. In 1929, Skinner installed his Opus 780, a four-manual instrument of 42 ranks, in Westminster Church after a fire destroyed the church’s roof and interior, including its original 1863 organ.

The Skinner organ remained in Westminster Church until 1976 when it was replaced by an electronic organ, due to the church’s inability to fund some much-needed repairs. Fortunately, the Skinner was not lost, but was moved to the nearby residence of church members Dr. Thomas and Anne Older, who preserved the instrument by installing it in their home. When the church’s electronic instrument began to fail in the late 1990’s, the Olders donated the Skinner back to the church, more than 20 years after it had been removed.

Come experience our organ for yourself. It is an instrument that is not just heard, but felt as the low register can cause a rumble in the chest of listeners!