You don’t know when to sit and when to stand, what to wear, or why they do what they do.
Here are some of the questions that first time visitors have. It’ll help you be prepared. And hopefully minimize the awkwardness.
Wear whatever you want!
Overall, we are a casual bunch. Some people come in jeans, some in a nice shirt and khakis. Not many people wear suits and ties, so don’t worry about dressing fancy.
We want you to be comfortable while you’re here, so feel free to have your clothing reflect that.
Childcare availability varies depending on how many children are in church. If there are several children, then we do sometimes provide a Sunday School class during the service. Most of the time, even if there is only one child, we have our volunteers ready to help out.
All the time, however, we have “busy bags” with projects and things to do during the service.
We love children, including all of their noises! If your child does make a bit of noise during the service, that’s just fine.
If they are getting too rambunctious and you’re starting to feel uncomfortable, we also have a cry room in the back of the sanctuary. There are glass windows, a sound system, and hymnals—everything you need to participate while also caring for your fussy little one!
Our Sunday School teachers all have done background checks and follow our Safe Church Policy to ensure the safety of the children under their care.
All of the above! We come from a variety of backgrounds and hold a variety of opinions—politically, socially, and theologically.
As a church, we are very concerned about social justice and inclusion. We explicitly include all in our worship, including LGBTQ+ folks. Our sermons often include reflections on issues that are ancient, modern, or both—such as poverty, ethnicity, gender, imperialism.
We take the Bible seriously, but many of us do not take it as “literally” as some other churches. It is a deeply important book that shapes our life and we fully embrace the way that it uses story, metaphor, history, and myth to communicate truth about God.
Our church does not hold a particular political position. We do not endorse political candidates or parties. That does not mean, however, that we shy away from meaningful social (and, yes, political) issues. Christianity has a lot to say about how we live life together (that is, politics) and we try to tackle these dilemmas head-on. However, our church services are not focused on politics—they’re focused on processing how our Christian tradition informs every part of our lives.
Our worship is eclectic. We try to include a mix of many things because everyone has different things that are meaningful to them.
The music is lively and energetic. Our music comes from our hymnals, and is a mix of traditional hymns and contemporary hymns. We do not normally sing “praise and worship” music.
We sometimes decide to change up our services a bit because we don’t like to get bored. However, many times the services look something like this:
Worship starts with announcements for the congregation. These help people to stay connected to everything that is happening within the church.
Next, the pastor and the congregation read back-and-forth a short piece called a call to worship that helps us to center ourselves and collectively reflect on why we’re here.
We usually sing three or four songs throughout the service.We are a church who loves to sing, so we do a lot of it. As a congregation, we like to sing with gusto, so we usually stand up. (You are always welcome to stay seated if that is more comfortable. And of course, you are welcome to not sing anything that you are not comfortable with.)
If you can’t read music or don’t know how to sing, that’s just fine. We all sing together, so nobody’s looking at you. You can join in without fear of standing out, regardless of how good or bad you are. Because we sing out, everyone can fit in, regardless of whether or not you can carry a tune—nobody hears you individually.
We include a mix of songs in our worship, including both traditional hymns and contemporary hymns.
After some of the singing, we share our joys and concerns—the things that are on our minds, either good or bad. As a community who supports each other, we help others to lift up these things in prayer. After each congregant says a short prayer request, the pastor says, “Lord in your mercy:”, and together we all finish, “Hear our prayer.”
After this, we have prayer. This usually starts with an extended time of silent prayer for a minute or so. Then we read together a prayer that is printed in our bulletin so that we can join each other in praying collectively for each other and for the world.
A member of the congregation reads the day’s Scripture aloud. Sometimes they end with the phrase, “The word of God for the people of God,” to which we all respond together, “Thanks be to God.”
Next comes the sermon. These tend to be 15-20 minutes. They might begin from the Biblical passage, or some current event, or a religious concept. The preacher then explores with the congregation what we can learn from it to help us to live as followers of the Way of Jesus in the world of this time and place in which we live. An attempt is made to avoid specialized theological jargon so that the sermon is more easily understandable.
Each week, we take a monetary offering. Through these donations, we are both able to be a presence working in the community and continue offering our worship and programs. To take the offering, the ushers pass offering plates around. Individuals can put their donation in and then pass it along. The offering plate is also the place to place any of the Friendship Notes slips to help us connect to you.
As a visitor, please do not feel obliged to add money to the offering plate. This is something that we do as committed regular attendees. Please enjoy our worship service without feeling pressured to give.
We participate in the ancient practice of communion on the first Sunday of each month. During this time, we allow this ancient ritual to bring us together as a community, sharing all together in a symbolic meal. Congregants come in turn to the front of the sanctuary. There, each individual takes the bread, dips it into the grape juice, and eats. You are welcome to join, even if you don’t know what’s going on. However, you are always welcome to not participate.
In the Methodist Church, everybody can participate in communion, regardless of their denomination or background.
We finish with a benediction and a closing song. The benediction is simply the pastor pronouncing a blessing upon the congregation as they go forth into the world once more. The closing song varies from time to time, but helps to remind us of who and what we are called to be and do when we leave the sanctuary.
Worship services usually last about one hour. On Sundays when we have Communion, or when we have a special celebration, the services may run a little longer.
After the service, you are welcome to join us in the Fellowship Hall for a snack, coffee or tea, and some conversation. We would love to meet you!
You are also welcome to leave right after the service.