What to Expect on Sunday 10:30am
We know that coming to church for the first time (or returning after a hiatus) can be intimidating. What are you going to find when you open those doors? What will the people be like? Will I embarass myself? Will I be uncomfortable? Hopefully we can make this a bit easier.
When you walk in the front doors you will find a sitting area where we often meet for coffee and tea following the service. To your left will be the main church where we worship. There will likely be someone greeting you as you enter. They will hand you any bulletins or hymn books you will need. You will then find a pew to sit in. Just before service can be a good time to sit prayerfully in God's presence. Those sitting near you will be happy to help you if you ever feel lost during the service. Someone will likely play music before the service begins.
A priest or worship leader will announce the first hymn and which hymn book to find it in from the back of the church. In general, We stand to sing, sit to listen, and kneel to pray. Of course anyone who has difficulty kneeling is free to sit instead.
The priest will then often have a short teaching with the children before they are invited to go to sunday school (children are very welcome to stay with their parents in the pew if the parents prefer). There wll be a few short announcements, then we wil pray together.
Members of the community will read from the Bible, then the priest will preach a sermon that is supposed to clarify one or more of the Scripture readings and show how it is relevant to our lives.
Following the sermon we will say a creed which is a summary of the story Christians believe we find ourselves in. A member of the community will then lead us in praying for various needs of the community and the world.
At this point we transition from the 'Word' (focused on the Bible) to 'Eucharist' (focusing on Jesus' sacrifice for us through a ceremony using bread and wine). The priest will move from the prayer desk to the table at the front of the church. Offerings are made of food, bread, and wine as well as money. We always give out of thansgiving for what God has done for us. No one is expected to give. It is always a freely given offering. Visitors have no obligation to give.
Prayers are said that remind us of what the bread and wine is all about and we thank God for them. The congregation will be invited forward to receive the bread and wine as the body and blood of Jesus Christ. (Baptism is the usual entrance into the life of the church and so we will sometimes say that all baptized people are welcome to receive. If you would like to be baptized please speak to the priest who will be happy to help you prepare for baptism.) If you don't feel comfortable receiveing the bread and wine you are welcome to come forward and cross your arms over your chest which will indicate to the priest that you prefer to receive a prayer of blessing rather than communion. You are also welcome to remain seated in the pew if you prefer.
After communion we will sing a final hymn and the priest will move to the back of the church and greet people as they exist for a time of conversation around sweets, coffee, and tea.
Liturgy- For those who are a bit more familiar with all things Anglican- Our service is structured by two prayer books- The Book of Alternative Services (BAS) and The Book of Common Prayer (BCP). You may find these and many other texts online.
The strength and appeal of a common liturgy (structure for worship) among all Anglicans is that it provides a unifying force, and it also is a way of reinforcing who we are by praying Scripture and the prayers of many of the saints from the past. You will have the same continuity and teaching whether you are visiting another parish or at your home church gathering. You also feel a stronger sense of community with those in neighbouring communities as well as Anglicans across the world.