If you haven’t worshiped with us before, these are some commonly asked questions:
What time is the service? Do I need to arrive early?
Sunday worship starts at 10:30 am.
We have a small parking lot, as well as a fair bit of street parking, so arriving early isn’t necessary! However, some people do choose to come a bit sooner than 10:30 in order to have some coffee prior to worship, choosing a place to sit, get comfortable, meet a few people, listen to the music before the service, and simply center themselves in preparation for worship.
What is your worship style?
Our worship style is diverse, including many aspects that are more formal, and others that are not. Our time of reflection/sermon, led by our ministers, is based on the one of the Biblical readings of the day. Much of our music and hymns come from our hymn book, Voices United, which is handed out along with a bulletin as you enter the sanctuary. We would consider our church to be friendly, welcoming, and progressive. Everyone is welcome!
What happens in a typical service?
- We usually begin with the choir entering, and everyone standing while the choir sings a piece of music called an Introit to help the congregation in centering for worship.
- The minister or worship leader then leads the congregation in opening words often referred to as a “Call to Worship,” after which the congregation joins together in singing a hymn.
- Announcements about activities in the life and work of the congregation are shared.
- We greet and welcome one another by shaking hands and sharing the peace of Christ (may the peace of Christ be with you – and also with you!)
- Our next hymn draws us back from greeting one another, which is then followed by a prayer.
- The minister or worship leader then invites the children forward for a special theme time. Outside of the summer months, on most Sundays the children then attend programming.
- A reading or two from the Bible is shared.
- This is followed by special music, most often from our very capable choir.
- Our minister then reflects on the Biblical passage, connecting it with our day-to-day lives.
- We sing another hymn.
- An opportunity to respond to God through the giving of our gifts (offering), followed by a short piece of music we sing together, as well as a prayer of dedication.
- A time of prayer for the world, for our community, and for ourselves that usually ends with saying together the words of the prayer of Jesus (often called the Lord’s Prayer).
- We sing a hymn, followed by closing words, and the choir often sings a blessing.
- Following the blessing, many of the congregation like to remain seated to listen to a musical postlude.
How long are your services?
Typically, about an hour.
Do I need to dress up?
Not unless you want to! We have a fairly casual dress environment – everything from shorts and sandals, to pants and dress shirts. Simply wear whatever you are most comfortable in!
What do you have for children and youth?
Everyone who comes to church gathers for worship together. About 15 minutes into most services, children and youth leave for their own creative program to explore faith at an appropriate level, while adults stay in worship.
The children (aged 3 through 12) are using what we think is a fantastic, rotation-based program that allows them to learn Biblical stories in a way that is engaging and accounts for different learning styles. So one week they might be cooking in the kitchen, and the next they might be doing drama!
Some of our ‘youngest-type’ worshippers are more comfortable staying with their parent(s), and that’s totally okay too. We have a craft and colouring table located at the back left of the sanctuary space where they are welcome to respond to what they experience in worship however they like. Feeding your child, whether by breast, bottle, or simply a snack, is welcome wherever you feel most comfortable. We love to have children and youth as part of our faith community!
For those parents or caregivers who may need a bit of quiet, or prefer a bit more privacy in feeding their child, we do have our narthex/entry area which is glassed-off and looks into the Sanctuary. Sound from the service is transmitted into the narthex so that you can continue to participate and be a part of worship. There are several comfortable couches and chairs so that you may do so in comfort. As this room is not staffed, you need to stay with your child. However, it is not an expectation that you use this room.
How often do you celebrate communion?
Communion is where all who are gathered share together as we remember the last meal Jesus had with his friends and followers. We typically celebrate communion approximately four times per year, plus special services.
Most often, those present are invited to come forward to the front as you are able, to take a piece of bread (we offer a selection of breads, as well as gluten-free rice crackers) and to dip it in the cup of grape juice and then eat it (this is called intinction). For those who wish to participate but are unable to come forward, we ask that you simply raise your hand slightly, and our ministeror a server will bring the bread and juice to you.
We believe that all who wish to participate are welcome to join in sharing communion, including our children.
What about baptism?
We believe that Baptism is the outward sign, done with water, of a reality that has existed from the very beginning of life – that you are loved, welcomed, and accepted by God. Baptisms most often happen when children are small, with parents making promises on behalf of their child.
However, adults are just as welcome to be baptized as infants!
For more information, and answers to questions you may have about baptisms, please read our page Baptism.
Is your building wheelchair accessible?
Mostly! We have a power-lift that moves around the central staircase in the building. The entrance is between the office and narthex doors on the east side of the building facing 26A St. This lift allows access to Fitzgerald Hall and the Sanctuary. One of our upcoming projects is to improve accessibility throughout the facility.
How can I make a contribution to the church?
Giving of your time and talents are always appreciated, as is the gift of your treasure! Should you wish to contribute financially and receive a tax receipt, offering envelopes are available at the back of the sanctuary or in the pews.
For those who desire to give regularly, we would be happy to provide you with a box of offering envelopes. Simply speak to one of our ministers, or one of our greeters, and they can relay your request to our treasurer.
What else happens on Sunday mornings?
After worship, refreshments, goodies, and conversation takes place in Fitzgerald Hall below the sanctuary. We hope you will stay so we can get to know you.
Have other questions?
Please feel free to contact our minister or our church office with any questions you have about St. Matthew’s United Church.