Perhaps you have never attended church. Perhaps it has been a long time since you attended or you are of a different faith. Whatever the reason, you might be unsure about what it’s like in today’s church. Here is a guide to what you’ll find at St. John’s on Sunday morning.
You Are Welcome Here
No matter what faith background you have, you are welcome to attend a church service at St. John’s. If you would like to just observe, we won’t mind. If you would like to participate, you can. All Christians, regardless of denomination, are welcome to participate in our services; it is our faith and trust in Jesus Christ that binds us into community. If you are visiting the area and just want a place to worship for one or two Sundays, or if you are someone seeking a congregation to join, we would love to have you in our church.
If you’re not sure which service to attend, here are some questions that will help you:
- Do you like reflective traditional worship? Do you wish to take part in Holy Eucharist?
Try The Sacred Table at 9 a.m.
- Do you like the bustling warmth of community life? Do you want to hear about Christian teachings and their place in modern society? Are you looking for a program for children?
Try The Open Door at 10:30 a.m.
- Do you have questions about Christianity? Do you enjoy exploring ideas through discussion?
Try The Forum at 11:30 a.m.
- If you’re still not sure … why not start with the Open Door, then grab a coffee and stay for The Forum.
There is no dress code for church; you are welcome to come as you are. Many people wear “business casual” but our parishioners — and their clothing! — are pretty diverse.
Arriving at Church
It’s best if you can arrive about ten minutes before the service. Greeters can guide you if you are unsure about anything, and there are always a few empty seats toward the back for those who might feel bashful.
Order of Service
At The Sacred Table (9 a.m.), the focus is on the Anglican Eucharist. At St. John’s we believe that regular participation in the Eucharist is an important part of our Christian life, so The Sacred Table is very important. While it will always be deeply rooted in the Anglican Eucharistic tradition, the structure of the service may vary from week to week. In Advent and Lent you might see a traditional liturgy coming from the 1962 Canadian Book of Common Prayer. At other times of the year, The Sacred Table may use a liturgy from another period of the Anglican history or a form from another region of the worldwide Anglican Communion, such as England or New Zealand. The common thread is our ability to gather, hear God’s Word, pray, confess and reconcile before sharing the bread and wine as Christ commanded us to do. Then we head out to share the good news of the gospel.
Understanding the Service
The Anglican Eucharist at The Sacred Table (9 a.m.) can be confusing for a newcomer to follow. That’s why we recommend that people who are new to church or to the Anglican tradition come to The Open Door at 10:30 and The Forum at 11:30. These services are designed to help people walk their faith journey — whether they are just starting out or are well down the path.
The high point of The Sacred Table is the Eucharist, when we come to the front of the church to share in the bread and the wine that represent Jesus’ body and blood. In some traditions, the Eucharist is called Communion. In the Roman Catholic tradition, it would be called Mass. If you have been baptized in any Christian church you are welcome to partake of the sacrament of Eucharist. If you do not want to receive the bread and wine, you are welcome to come forward for a blessing from the priest; simply hold your arms over your chest. Or, you can remain in your seat and enjoy the music.
The Collection Plate
If you are visiting our church, please do not feel obliged to put something in the collection plate; it is our privilege to welcome you as a guest. If you decide to join our congregation, you will have an opportunity to learn about options for contributing to the church at the time you receive a formal welcome. If you do decide to contribute on the day you attend, you can use an envelope in the back of the pew. We will send a tax receipt for donations of $20 or more.
Fellowship and Coffee
Before The Open Door at 10:30 and The Forum at 11:30, everyone is invited to gather to socialize, perhaps find a new friend or two, and enjoy some coffee and sweet treats. If you have seen anything that you are curious about, have any questions or want to offer some comments, this is a great time to chat. If you are in a thoughtful mood, you might like to browse our small library while enjoying coffee.