No matter who you are – whether a long-time Christian or seeking to know God in a Christian congregation for the first time – we welcome you. You are a child of God who has gifts and new ideas to offer this community.
We recognize and honor the reality that it can be difficult to go to a new church for the first time. We also assume that God is calling you to deepen your relationship with God – and we take that very seriously. Our aim is to make you as comfortable as possible so that you can have an experience of God during your time in worship.
Since you are visiting us through cyberspace right now, and may not have attended St Paul’s or St Alban’s yet, here are a few highlights to make you feel most comfortable
What is worship?
Worship is what forms us as a distinct community. It is a time to gather together to give praise to God. It is also a time to refresh ourselves, to be ready to go back out into the world as followers of Jesus and to make a difference in the world. In part, worship is also the time when we practice living in the kingdom of God (what the world would be like if God were in charge) including putting God into the centre of our lives.
Who can worship?
Anyone is welcome to participate in worship. It doesn’t matter if this is your first opportunity to explore the Christian faith or if you haven’t been since you were a child. Nor should you feel embarrassed or somehow unworthy. This is a new day and you are already a beloved child of God.
When you arrive
You will be warmly welcomed by a greeter or usher. An usher will give you a bulletin with any announcements and will be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
First of all, if you have children – stop worrying! Children are very much a part of the life of this church. We are delighted to have them in the worship service. Please remember it isn’t going to bother anyone else if your kids make noise, move around or are just simply being kids. We are quite used to it. We think we have done our job if children are comfortable being themselves in worship.
Where do I sit?
Anywhere you like – really! We value hospitality here and there are no reserved seats. It is true that folks tend to sit in the same places week after week, but no one’ s nose is going to get out of joint if you happen to sit in their favourite spot. In fact, they will be glad that you have taken the risk of coming to church and more than likely warmly welcome you. Depending on what time you arrive, you will likely hear music playing, or if you are really early, it may be silent. Feel free to sit and relax, wander around and check out the rest of the building, or talk with others. It is up to you.
The Warden will begin the service by welcoming visitors. You will not be singled out nor asked to stand up. There is time for a few announcements that are not printed in the bulletin.
Most newcomers like to know the unwritten rules about what to wear and how to act. We are a pretty laid back place. Some people are more comfortable dressing up in business attire, while others prefer to wear jeans. It’s entirely up to you.
Length of worship
Expect the worship time to last between 55 to 65 minutes; on rare occasions, it may go a little longer
Music and singing
Music is a big part of worship. For most, music is a primary way to experience God. Somehow it brings us closer to the God. However, that doesn’t happen every time or for everybody. Once again, we want you to be as comfortable as you can, so if you’d rather listen than sing, that’s fine. Likewise, if you feel self-conscious because you don’t think you can sing, don’t sweat it – no one will likely hear you or think twice about it. Plus, God thinks your singing is great!
Bible readings and sermon
Typically there will be 3 readings from the Bible each Sunday. These readings are usually selected from the lectionary – a three-year cycle of readings chosen by the Christian church as a whole. There are occasions when the Priest will select another scripture such as in a sermon series. There are several translations of the Bible into English from its original Hebrew and Greek. We find the most scholarly and inclusive version to be the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
The offering is an important act of worship for Christians. It is symbolic of our belief that everything we have comes from the blessings of God. It is also an act of generosity and an important way to make a difference in the world. The money given goes to support the ministry programs at our churches (including salaries), as well as Anglican Church programs across Canada and throughout the world to help others. Visitors are not expected to participate in the offering. It is perfectly acceptable to let the offering plate pass you by.
If you decide to make St Paul or St Alban’s your home, you may want to begin participating in the offering.