Everyone is welcome to attend worship on Sunday. When you arrive, you can enter the sanctuary directly through the double glass doors on Dunn Street. There is also handicapped parking, and a ramp into the common area of the church, from the parking lot on Randall Street. A volunteer will greet you, and give you a “bulletin”, that explains what will happen in the service. Please feel free to sit anywhere you like, including the balcony, which you can get to by the stairs just inside the front doors.
The bulletin explains the order of the service, has the upcoming week’s schedule of meetings and events, and lots of information about the ongoing life and work of St. John’s.
Worship begins with a musical prelude at around 10:25. Our Chancel Choir (adults) enter the sanctuary after the prelude, and process down the centre aisle singing the first hymn. After the hymn, one of our ministers will offer words of welcome, and make some brief announcements. After the announcements, a musical “introit” encourages the congregation to a spiritual focus. A prayer is offered, another hymn is sung, and then children and teens are invited forward to the steps for an object lesson or story, that relates to the bible readings that will be shared later in the service. Our minister Kim, usually leads the children’s time, and then leaves the sanctuary with the children, youth and volunteers for a time of children’s ministry that we call G.O.D. Headquarters.
The service continues with a volunteer reading the selected bible passages for that day, which usually includes a psalm that is read responsively. We project on an overhead screen throughout the service the words for the prayers, hymns and readings, although the readings and prayers can also be found in the bulletin, or the bible and hymn books in the pews. After the readings, the choir or a soloist will sing a selection of music that complements the liturgy, and then one of our ministers will deliver the message – sometimes called a sermon, or homily. Click here to hear some recent ones.
After the sermon, we respond as a community with a hymn, and the offertory – which is an act of worship for Christians. It is also an act of generosity. Offerings support the ministry programs at our own church, as well as other ministry programs across Canada and throughout the world. You can put your offering in a visitor’s envelope . You get a tax receipt for donations over $20 if you fill in the address information. During the offertory, the choir or a soloist will sing another selection of music appropriate to the days’ readings.
When the offering is brought forward to the communion table, the congregation sings a doxology, which is a short hymn of praise. Our minister then leads us in prayer – prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of the people, and the Lord’s prayer.
The service ends with a closing hymn, and a blessing for the congregation to go forth into the world to serve.
At the end of the service, there is a short musical postlude, and everyone is invited to gather in Lusk Hall for tea, coffee, and an opportunity to chat with and visit. There are always sweet treats, and sometimes a soup lunch or celebration to share!
About six times a year, we celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion at our morning service. Everyone is welcome at Christ’s table. If you’re not comfortable with this (and some people are not), just stay in your seat and don’t worry. No one will pressure you to participate by receiving the elements of bread and grape juice. If you do want to take part but don’t know what to do, our ministers will give brief instructions, or you can just do what the people sitting around you are doing.
Sometimes we serve the elements in the pews, with little glasses and silver tray service, sometimes by intinction, where you come forward to receive the bread, and then dip it in a common cup. Either way, Christ has invited us all to his table.