New to the congregation? New to church? Let us make it easier for you!
We understand that not everyone who comes to our churches grew up in the congregation. Some may not have gone to a church before. Some may just be interested in what happens in our churches. We understand that going somewhere new can be intimidating for many people. We also understand that church can seem very different for those who have never been before. Here is a little bit of information that you may find useful.
What do people wear to church? Some people like to dress up for church, others dress casual. What is important isn't how we dress but that we come together. We welcome everything from jeans to suits.
What happens when I open the doors? Someone will often be there to greet you. They will give you a bulletin (a piece of paper with the outline of the service on it). You are then welcome to sit wherever you would like. Some people like to talk before the service others like to sit quietly. In front of you will be a red book called Voices United. This is our hymn book (with the music and words for the songs). Most hymns and spoken responses will also be projected on the wall at the front.
Where should I sit? Anywhere. While many people sit in the same place every week people are welcomed to sit wherever they would like and we'll make room for you wherever you sit. Many people sit further back in the sanctuary (room). But please don't think this is because they don't like being here. A tip: if you haven't been to church before and are worried about standing and sitting at the right time, you can sit behind someone else or watch the choir at the front.
What if I don't agree with every word of a hymn (song), prayer, or what the minister says? That's okay. Our church isn't based on everyone agreeing with one another. In fact, we see different ideas and opinions as enriching.
What if I don't like to sing? Worship in the Christian faith involves a lot of singing. We sing four hymns (songs) on a Sunday with a couple of shorter songs. If you don't like singing don't worry. Not everyone at church sings.
What is the offering? The offering is the time in the service where we celebrate the sharing of our gifts of time, talent, and money. Many people will place donations to the church in a plate that is passed around during this part of the service. While we are grateful for any and all donations if you don't want to donate or if you don't have money with you just let the plate go by. No one will be offended if you don't give. The greeters can also give you a guest envelope if you would like a tax receipt for your donation. Financial gifts help support the ministry of the church through the minister's salary, upkeep of the building, and utilities. With a lot of care and prayer we strive to be good stewards of all donations of time, talent, and money.
How long is the service? 1 hour. The sermon (when the minister talks about the scripture reading and relates it to our everyday life) is usually about 10-15 minutes.
I have children are they welcome? Yes. We love having children at our churches and welcome them. 15 minutes into the service Children are invited to come to the front for a special time of conversation with our minister and then are invited to attend Sunday School (a time for prayer, crafts, and bible stories). Children are also welcome to stay with their family if they wish. We understand that children are not always used to sitting through the first part of the service and sometimes move around, talk, sing, dance and this is okay.
I came on a communion day. What do I do? In the United Church all are welcome to share in communion. That means you are welcome whether you belong to another church or no church, whether you were baptized or not, whether you feel worthy enough or not. Communion is a ritual that reminds us of God's love. We share in bread and grape juice. You are most welcome but not obliged to share in communion. Instructions about how communion is served will be shared during the service.
What happens after church? Following the service you are welcome to join us for coffee, tea, and a snack. In Allenford the hall is downstairs, in Park Head it is up the ramp at the front of the worshipping space. You are welcome but not obliged to stay. The minister greets people as they leave and shakes their hand.
I came to church, but I'm late. Is that okay? Yes. It is okay if you are late or if you have to leave early. The bulletins are on a book stand directly across from the entrance and you are welcome to take one and quietly find a seat. Life sometimes means we can't make it to church at a certain time or that we have to leave early and that is okay.
Is your church accessible? Please visit our accessibility page under "Worshiping" for information on accessibility.
What do I call the minister? There are many titles used for ministers including reverend or pastor. Some people like to use former titles when talking to the minister, most simply use the minister's first name. Under the "connecting" tab at the top you'll find more information about our minister.
Are people of other denominations, religions, atheists, or those who are spiritual but not religious welcome? Yes. Learning about people of other beliefs and traditions can be enriching. You will not be pressured to believe what we believe or to come again if you don't want to. We will respect you and your beliefs and ask that you respect ours.
What if I have other questions? Send us an e-mail or give us a call and we'll be happy to help you know more about the church. Under the "Connecting" tab you'll find our information under "Contact Us."