Buford Presbyterian Church gathers for worship each Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. and again at 11:00 a.m. throughout the year. Special worship services are offered on Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and multiple services on Christmas Eve. The Sacrament of Holy Communion is observed on the first Sunday of each month as well as on Maundy Thursday and the Christmas Eve services.
What to Expect
When you first see our church facility, you may be struck by its unique look or by the steeple that reaches upward toward heaven. It sits a little bit up on a hill and is a lovely place and well-suited for people to gather for worship and for fellowship.
As you park your vehicle, you're likely to notice other churchgoers either leaving for home or pulling in for services depending on the time. The lot on the front side of the church is a bit smaller than the one in the back, and many of our younger, more ambulatory members park in the back so both visitors and older members get the better parking spaces.
If you come in through the front door of the church on the side directly facing out toward Buford Highway, you will likely be greeted by a church member or two standing just inside and there to give you further directions should you need them. The church sanctuary is just around the corner, and if you follow the crowd you will likely end up in the right place. If you need to make a stop in the restroom before you enter the sanctuary, they are conveniently located on the main floor just across the way from the sanctuary.
When you enter the sanctuary you'll notice how light it is in there on a typical Sunday morning. The walls are painted white, and the pews are stained a medium hue of brown. There is stained glass behind the organ and choir loft and more stained glass in both the transepts (areas off to either side) and more still in the front of the church up in the balcony where so many of our youth like to sit for the services.
You will notice many people dressed in business casual attire but many others even a bit more casual than that. You will likely see some people of color among the predominantly Caucasian crowd. You will certainly see people of all ages and an inordinately high amount of young children on most Sundays. All in all, you will probably find most people to be friendly and welcoming and willing to help you find answers to any questions you may have.
As the service begins, you will hear music setting the tone for worship and then, as the service begins, you will experience a traditional service that includes the singing of hymns from a hymnbook, pastors praying prayers and reading scripture and preaching a sermon each week. We also say creeds and sing certain songs like the Gloria Patri that are easy to learn but of deep value when we worship together. You will also see our children called down front for a brief lesson led by either a pastor or one of our other members.
If it’s the first Sunday of the month, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper will be observed. There is almost always a choral piece or two sung at the 11:00 a.m. service and quite often our children’s choirs will sing or a handbell group will ring, and the congregation is blessed by music that stirs the soul. We also take up an offering each week to not only pay expenses incurred by the church but also as an act of worship to tangibly express our commitment to God in faith. The service almost always ends with a Benediction that pronounces God’s blessing upon all who have gathered that day.
As you make your way out of the sanctuary following the service, you may notice that some people don’t seem in any hurry to leave. Instead, they stick around for a little while visiting with each other, and we affirm that this social time and friendship we share is a critical part of our life together. We like to be together, and we care about each other, and so many of us don’t rush off until we have spent some quality time catching up on life.
You will likely see the pastors standing by the doors and greeting people as they leave. You will see parents going off to retrieve children from nurseries or (in the case of slightly older children) from our Children’s Church program that teaches them about what it means to worship God. The time just after worship services is a time of “controlled chaos” where people visit and make quick plans and simply share a smile or a hug or a tear depending on what is needed.
If you have been so kind as to leave us some contact information, it is likely that you will hear from us in the week following expressing our thanks that you stopped in to see us. We hope that you will take the opportunity to do so if you are looking for a church home in this area. Buford Presbyterian is a church that is growing and wants to grow more both in our witness to this community and in our faithfulness to serve God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
What is Presbyterian?
The word “Presbyterian” is derived from the ancient Greek word presbuteros literally meaning “elder.” It makes sense, therefore, that Presbyterian churches are said to be ruled by laypeople in each congregation who have been elected to serve as Elders. The office of Elder exists in every Presbyterian congregation, and active members of all ages are eligible to hold the office, which a person serves for three consecutive years. A church without Elders is not Presbyterian.
Though Presbyterian pastors exert a great deal of influence upon the life of the congregation, it is the Session (the three elected classes of Elders currently serving) along with the Pastor(s) who make the big decisions and chart the course of church life. Presbyterians are thus shaped by church government that is representative in nature. Our church government is less “top-down” than that of many other Christian denominations.
While the word “Presbyterian” as a denomination of God’s people suggests far more than what is stated above, it is our form of government that gives us our name. Buford Presbyterian Church is a member congregation of the PC(USA) which is the main line of all Presbyterian denominations in the U.S. There are other denominations that consider themselves Presbyterian whether in name or in orientation, but the PC(USA) is the one from which most of the others have been formed.
Childcare During Worship
In order to insure a meaningful worship experience for the whole family, childcare is provided through the following programs:
• Nursery for infants and toddlers who are crawling.
• Toddler Room is designed for young children who are walking, up to age three.
**Both the Nursery and Toddler rooms are available during the 8:30 and 11:00 worship services and during Sunday School.
• Children’s Worship is provided for children three years of age through pre-kindergarten, and begins immediately following the Children’s Sermon at the 11:00 worship service. Designed to be understood by young children, the Children’s Worship program includes Bible stories and elements of a typical worship service.
• Special Needs: Please contact Associate Pastor Carrie Barnes or Christian Education Elders Lisa Luke or Cheryl Wilson if you have a child or young adult with special needs. We would be happy to work with you to arrange care.
Becoming a Member
There are three ways a person can join a particular congregation in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). These three ways of joining are
- Profession of Faith,
- Reaffirmation of Faith and
- Transfer of Membership Certificate.
Profession of faith is the way people join who have never been formally affiliated with any church before. It involves a time of discernment and consultation with a pastor or some mentor in the congregation. When ready, the person professes his or her faith in front of the church’s elected body of Elders and then in front of the congregation itself. Profession of faith occurs when questions to be answered in the affirmative are asked of the person by the pastor in order to “profess” their faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior. If the person has never been baptized before, the Sacrament of Baptism accompanies their profession. Presbyterian churches do not normally immerse people when we baptize them but “sprinkle” water on their heads instead.
Reaffirmation of Faith is for persons who have previously professed their faith and been baptized but have not had a committed affiliation with any particular congregation for a substantial period of time prior to their joining here.
Transfer of membership certificate is for those who are active members of other congregations at the time they join here. A request is made of the church they have formally been a part of to forward along their “letter” or membership certificate.
When people are being led to join our congregation, it is important to express this to one of the pastors and to have a discussion with them about what this may mean for their lives and how best to facilitate its occurrence.