If you haven’t worshipped 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 an ample parking lot, so arriving early isn’t necessary! However, some people do choose to come a bit sooner than 10:30 in order to chose a place to sit, get comfortable, meet a few people, listen to our choir rehearse, and simply centre themselves in preparation for worship.
What is your worship style?
Our worship style is diverse, including some aspects that are more formal, and others that are not. Our time of reflection/sermon, led by one of our ministers, is based on the Bible. We make use of electronic projection, along with images, so that everyone can participate as they are able. Much of our music and hymns come from our two hymn books, Voices United and More Voices, and the words are projected. Often times, a film clip, video, or drama are used in helping us explore our faith and grow in our relationship with God. We would consider our church to be friendly, casual, and progressive. Everyone is welcome!
What’s happens in a typical service?
* We usually begin with some words of welcome, and the lighting of our Christ candle to centre ourselves.
* Announcements about activities in the life and work of the congregation are shared.
* Our adult choir offers a gift of music.
* We greet one another by shaking hands and sharing the peace of Christ (may the peace of Christ be with you – and also with you!)
* The sound of our tone bowl draws us back from greeting one another, and we quite often sing a short piece of music together. At this point, our children and youth are invited to head out to their programs.
* We share in opening words (call to worship) and a prayer.
* We sing a hymn
* A reading or two from the Bible is shared.
* One of our ministers will reflect 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 (also called the Lord’s Prayer)
* We sing a hymn, during which our children and youth return to join us.
* We share together in some closing words, and a blessing.
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 10 minutes into most services, children and youth leave for their own creative program to explore faith at their own level, and 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!
Our youth follow their own program that engages their questions and builds community in their own age group. Our children and youth usually rejoin the adults in the worship service for the closing hymn and blessing.
Some of our ‘youngest-type’ worshippers are more comfortable staying with their parent(s), and that’s totally okay too. We have a mosh-pit (our teddy zone) where they are welcome to come and get a teddy or stuffed toy to snuggle with, and they are most welcome to move about and make noise! 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 a Sunshine room which looks into the Sanctuary, and sound from the service is transmitted into the Sunshine room so that you can continue to participate and be a part of worship. 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 the 1st Sunday of every month, except during the summer – so about 10 times a year.
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 one of our ministers or a server will bring the bread and juice to you. We also offer individual grape juice cups for those who are immune-suppressed.
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 on Baptism.
Is your building wheelchair accessible?
Yes! We have power doors at all three entrances to the church, as well as a ramp within the building to get from the classrooms and offices to the Sanctuary and Valleyview Room. Our Sanctuary has chairs without arms, as well as chairs with arms. In addition, our Sanctuary has a ramp along the left-hand side should you chose to sit closer to the front – of course, you can sit wherever you wish! There are hearing assist devices available as well. All of our bathrooms are wheelchair accessible, too!
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.
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.
We also offer the option of donating through PAR (pre-authorized remittance).
What else happens on Sunday mornings?
After worship, refreshments, goodies, and conversation takes place in our Valleyview room. 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 Symons Valley United Church.