New To St John’s?
What you can anticipate in worship this Sunday!
What happens when I first arrive at church?
When you arrive on Sunday morning, there will be a sidesperson (greeter) inside the doors who will welcome you and hand you a bulletin outlining the order of service. This person can also help you find a seat, point out where the hall and restrooms are and answer any other initial questions you may have. Don’t feel uncomfortable to approach them at any time as the sideperson’s job is to help you feel at home in the church.
In our space, you may sit anywhere you like. Don’t worry about taking “someone’s seat”. It’s true that many people have habits of where they prefer to sit. However, if a pew is empty, you are welcome to sit there. If you like to see what’s happening at the altar and front of the church, it’s suggested to sit in the first 6 pews and closer to the center aisle than the sides. If you like to hear more of the music, sitting in the back half of the sanctuary offers a fuller sound. Experiment with how worship feels to you depending on your seat. Don’t feel you have to pick one spot and sit there for the rest of time.
All of the books you will need are in the racks right in front of you when you sit in your pew. The blue book contains the words to the hymns. The green book is the liturgy, or the form and words we use in worship. Your bulletin will tell you what book you need and when you will need it. There are also bibles in the pews if you would like to follow along with each scripture reading. If you need large print or help with hearing assistance, please ask your sidesperson and they will be pleased to assist.
When the service starts, don’t worry if you are not sure when to sit, stand or pray. Watching the choir and lay readers at the front will offer direction. Yet honestly, it is not that important. You can join in on the service when you feel comfortable. If standing or kneeling is uncomfortable for you, you can remain seated without feeling like you are doing something “wrong”. Do what your body needs you to do.
What happens for children or grandchildren?
The children’s program is offered during the 10:30am service. Children are welcome at all times to remain in church or go to the Sunday Church School program as they wish and to their comfort level. After first hymn and prayers at the beginning of the service, Fr Osita will invite the children to the front for a children’s talk. After this lesson, any children who wish to go to Church School are led by their teacher to continue their worship and learning in the program room off of the main hall. You can join them in the Sunday school room as well and experience the children’s ministry too if you like. The children return to the sanctuary before Holy Communion (after the passing of the collection plates called the offertory) so that all are together to receive Communion. We all stay together for the remainder of the service.
What about Holy Communion?
At St John’s, any baptized Christian who receives Communion in his or her own church is welcome to receive here as well. The norm in our parish is that children be baptized before receiving Communion. If you are not able to receive communion you are still welcome to come forward to the altar rail for a blessing. Fold your arms over your chest in an “X” to signal that you will not take the Sacrament but would appreciate a blessing. And, the altar area is not mobility-friendly or wheelchair-accessible. The priest will come and administer Communion directly to where you’re sitting in the pews. There is thus no worry about trying to get up to the front. As the priest joins the congregation with the Communion cup, simply make eye contact as he and the Deacon will be actively searching for who wishes to receive.
Tell me more about what the service is like?
If you arrived for the 8am service, you will note that there’s no music at this service and that a different liturgy is used. You will use the small red book called the “Book of Common Prayer” for this service. This “early” Sunday service begins at 8:00am and ends at approximately 9:00am whilst the 10:30am worship ends at approximately at 12:00 noon.
Our worship moves through several phases. The three main parts of the Liturgy are the Gathering of the Community, the Proclamation of the Word (Bible readings, a sermon, the Prayers of the People) and the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion).
Coming to the Lord’s Table: this is the Lord’s Table and all who belong to Christ are welcome! We use bread (regular or gluten-free) and wine with a common cup. Communicants are welcome to receive the bread and drink from the cup or simply receive the bread. Non-communicants may also come forward at the time of Communion and receive a blessing in the form of a short prayer.
Please feel comfortable to participate as much or as little as you like. If you just want to sit quietly and watch, that’s fine. You won’t be singled out in any way. Some Sundays you might feel more exuberant, others more contemplative. Christ welcomes all moods in His house.
After the 10:30am service, the priest will dismiss the congregation and most folks enjoy a cup of coffee or tea along with some conversation that we call fellowship after the worship time. If you are not sure where the hall is you can simply follow the bulk of people and it’s easy to find, walking directly straight ahead from the back of the church. Please join us in the Parish Hall and let us get to know you better.
Still have questions? We are happy to help! Visit our “Contact Us” page and you can either send your questions via e-mail or call us for assistance.