Ministry of the Heart:

Worship, Fellowship, Spiritual Formation

The Ministry of the Heart Team nurtures and enhances relationships within the church community. There are three specific areas of oversight and development to which MoHeart attends: Worship, Fellowship, and Spiritual Formation. 


     As Presbyterians, we believe that in worship, the people of God acknowledge the presence of God in the world and our lives. It is the intentional tending of the space between our worst doubts and fears and our best hopes, both emerging from the gritty stuff of daily living. We make room in our week to gather with others who both share and shape the love of God, listen to Scripture read and proclaimed, and participate with the antiphonal voices lifted in confession and acknowledgment as well as in forgiveness received. It is where we offer our lives back to God in response to God's grace, equipping us for God's service in the world. The beauty of engaging in corporate worship is that it brings us face to face with challenges like taking responsibility for accessibility needs that are not our own, accepting and exploring music and aesthetic styles we don't necessarily prefer, and sharing a communion table with those whose eyes we would rather not meet. This, too, is the gritty stuff of life. And its emergence in worship isn't antithetical to a God present to us all. However, to stop there would be a disservice to a God everywhere present. Worship isn't only one hour a week but an invitation to expand the borders of our perception as we listen for and respond to the Holy in and through our everyday experiences. Worship, viewed in this way, is a form of active resistance to the sacred/secular divide that can easily drain life of its meaning and our imaginations of generative engagement in the participation of what it means to be alive.


     By and large, our culture has segregated many of our social interactions, academic institutions, and even spiritual collaborations along the lines of peer groups. This is not the mission of the church. Relationships with each other in the community that is the local Body of Christ should represent unusual associations, surprising camaraderie, and unpredicted connections. Each of these relationships gravitate around a common Center, as varied as our paths may be. Within these interactions, we find ourselves perhaps most acutely aware of the need for companions, for being witnessed, and for permission to be human in all its complexity. The Trinity in which we believe and confess does not exist as individuals in isolation but as a dance of related communion. There is an ethos of reciprocity that the Body of Christ learns to emulate and practice, bringing a dynamic intimacy to our playful interactions and more focused projects. Thus, fellowship continues to be a thriving and essential part of who we are at First Presbyterian Church.

Spiritual Formation

     In light of our worship and fellowship practices described above, spiritual formation follows suit in its posture of receptivity and response to the dynamic flow of Divine relationship. The technical definition of "spiritual formation" centers around deepening an individual's private and intimate interactions with God. It is the stillness within which we begin to recognize, as Meister Eckhart wrote, "The eye wherein I see God is the same eye wherein God sees me." But this is never done in a vacuum. We need voices outside ourselves to learn to listen to our perspectives which stir our opposition to recognize the view from where we stand and questions we hadn't imagined asking to ignite our curiosity. Thus, while spiritual formation does include solitude, contemplation, and private prayer, the active place of the faith community to enhance these experiences cannot be overstated. At First Presbyterian Church, we offer traditional and time-tested outlets and innovative and creative opportunities for introspection, meditation, centering, and embodiment. A capitalist culture, immersed in objectification and hyper-individuality, often doesn't concern itself with inner listening or the perennial wisdom of our ancestors. But there is treasure in both. As we approach spiritual formation with the playfully explorative posture of a learner, we begin to not only know in our mind but also experience in our bodies how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God. And to sense the whisper of interconnectedness for which we are intended and in which we thrive.