What can I expect when attending Christ Church?
So, you’re considering a visit to Christ Church. Maybe it’s because you’ve passed by and wondered what goes on inside. Maybe a friend has invited you to come, or you will be attending a wedding or another celebration.
No matter what the reason, you are very welcome. If you’ve never attended church or if it’s been a while, many sights and sounds may be unfamiliar to you. This brief guide might help.
Anglicans believe that the most important thing we do as Christians is gather together for worship. At Christ Church, we worship on Sunday mornings at 9:15 and 11:00 during most of the year (in the summer, we worship once at 10:00). Worship services may also be called the Eucharist, Communion or Mass. You can wear whatever you feel comfortable in; most of us dress very casually.
We have two services on Sunday morning. At 9:15, we have a Sunday School and a Church Choir. The service is a little more energetic. At 11:00, we have a quieter and more reflective service.
We also worship on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 pm. It is a more intimate service, and an opportunity to reflect on the lives of the saints, members of our church family throughout the centuries.
When You Arrive
Show up a few minutes early. A friendly greeter will provide you with a leaflet with details about the service. If you need help finding the Sunday School room, we’ll be happy to show you and introduce you to our teachers.
Please sit wherever you feel the most comfortable. In the pews, you will find three books: our green Book of Alternative Services, which is our worship book with the form of our worship service and the text for most of our prayers; you will also find two Hymnals or song books, one of which is blue and the other green, which we use when we sing together as a congregation.
During the Service
Services are a mix of readings, prayers, hymns and a sermon. You might be wondering when you should do what: kneel, sit, stand, say “Amen.” Just relax and follow what others are doing. You may see people bowing or crossing themselves at certain times, but this is a personal choice. Do what feels comfortable for you.
Enjoy the music, the words of the Bible, and the silences. Take time to contemplate the symbols and images – the cross, the altar, the candles, the stained-glass windows – that may enhance the worship space.
At one part of the service, called the Peace, everyone is invited to greet each other. People near you may offer you a handshake with the words “Peace of Christ” or “Peace be with you.” Feel free to say hi to the people around you.
About halfway through the service, we take up a monetary collection. As the gifts of bread and wine for communion are offered at the altar, the people also offer their gifts. You will see people passing a plate. You’re welcome to contribute, but don’t feel obligated. We have envelopes for visitors on the table at the back, or you can put an offering straight into the plate.
All baptized Christians are invited to receive the bread and wine at communion. You’re welcome to come forward for a blessing, whether or not you’re baptized — just cross your arms over your chest when the priest approaches you. If you need a gluten–free rice cracker, please let the priest know.
You can also choose to stay in your seat during this part of the service – it’s up to you.
Between the Services
We have a coffee hour between our two services. Feel free to join in and mingle, but don’t feel obligated to stay. If you do stay, you can introduce yourself to the priest and ask questions; pick up flyers about upcoming events and services; and most importantly, come back! We’d love to see you.
What do Anglicans believe?
The Anglican Church of Canada does not define its doctrine in a single confession. Our beliefs are articulated in our liturgies as we worship week by week. As a partner in the worldwide Anglican Communion and in the universal Church, we proclaim and celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ in worship and action.
We value our heritage of biblical faith, reason, liturgy, tradition, bishops and synods, and the rich variety of our life in community.
We acknowledge that God is calling us to greater diversity of membership, wider participation in ministry and leadership, better stewardship in God’s creation and a stronger resolve in challenging attitudes and structures that cause injustice.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to love and serve God by loving and serving the world, and so more fully live the life of Christ. This comes from the Great Commandment: “to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength; and to love our neighbours as ourselves.”
Further, Anglican tradition also affirms three historic creeds: The Apostles’ Creed http://www.anglican.ca/about/beliefs/apostles-creed/ , the Nicene Creed http://www.anglican.ca/about/beliefs/nicene-creed/ , and the Athanasian Creed http://www.anglican.ca/about/beliefs/athanasian-creed/
The Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1888 also defined what is common in churches in the Anglican Communion:
- The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as “containing all things necessary to salvation,” and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.
- The Apostles’ Creed, as the Baptismal Symbol; and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.
- The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself—Baptism and the Supper of the Lord—ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of Institution, and of the elements ordained by Him.
- The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church.
Is Christ Church open to anyone?
Christ Church is an open, welcoming and inclusive place for all people. If you have questions, we’d love to talk with you. If you are looking for a joyful community which takes its commitment to follow Jesus seriously, we’d love to see you.
I don’t know if a religious life is for me, can I talk to someone about this?
Please do. You will find the Rev. Yme Woensdregt to be open to questions and conversation. Feel free to call the Church at 250-426-2644 to arrange for a time to meet with our priest.