Worship is held each Sunday morning at 10:30am. All are welcome!
SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP…is one of the central gatherings of the community at Westminster United. Worship is where we come together to pray, sing and praise God as we are equipped and sent forth again into the world. Worship usually lasts between 1 and 1 1/2 hours. The following is a brief outline of what to expect when you come to worship on Sunday morning.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE…you will find the coffee on in the narthex and you are most welcome to take a coffee or tea and make your way into the sanctuary. At the door to the sanctuary you will be greeted by one of our ushers and offered a printed booklet/bulletin for the service. You are welcome to take one of these bulletins, but please note that we also have the service projected on an overhead screen, so the bulletin is not necessary unless you prefer it.
WHEN YOU ENTER THE SANCTUARY… please make yourself comfortable in whatever seat you wish as there is no designated seating at Westminster. When you are seated you may find that there is music playing or that the choir is practicing and you are invited to sit and listen to the music or feel free to move about and visit with friends, neighbours and new acquaintances until the service starts.
CHILDREN…are always welcome at Westminster and there is a special children/family area in the sanctuary complete with a blanket, toys and coloring items for your children to use throughout the service. Children ages 4-12 will be with the worshiping community until the Children’s Theme Time. After this part of the service, they will be invited to join their leaders for Sunday School in the Christian Education area of the church. You are welcome to take your children to Sunday School. Sometimes a new environment is frightening for small children and they need the assurance of mom or dad with them, so please feel free to attend Sunday School with your child/children and stay as long as you like. There is also a nursery available next to the sanctuary for you and your child if you need a quiet place to sit and relax during the service. For more information on Children in Church, please refer to the “children & youth” link found on this site.
WELCOME AND PASSING THE PEACE… The minister will begin the worship service with a word of welcome followed by an invitation to the congregation to “share the peace of Christ with one another”. This is based on an ancient teaching to make peace with your neighbour as you come before God. During this time you are invited to stand and greet those around you. Often people will say “Peace Be With You”, but some will say “Good Morning” or simply shake your hand and smile. Any of these responses is just fine and you are invited to sit down again when you feel you have made your connection with others around you.
During this welcoming part of the service, the minister will not single you out or ask you to stand and introduce yourself. There are times however when members of the community want to introduce the people or family members they have brought with them, and this happens during this time of the service.
CELEBRATING OUR BIRTHDAY AND SPECIAL OCCASIONS….As the service begins people will be invited to acknowledge if they have had a Birthday or special celebration they would like to share with the community. Its up to you whether you chose to share this information or not, but we do sing Happy Birthday, etc. to all who have had special celebrations. At this time, some people will come forward and make a deposit of coins into the “Birthday Box” that sits on the altar table. The suggested amount is a penny for every year old you are, but each person is invited to participate, or not, just as they chose.
MUSIC AND SINGING…is an important part of our worship experience. We have gifted and talented musicians who offer their music abilities for our enjoyment. You are invited to join in the singing of hymns or just listen if you prefer. Music for worship is a blend of traditional and contemporary hymns and the word will appear on the overhead screen. However for those who like to read the music, we have both the Voices United Hymnbooks (large red hymn book) and the More Voices Hymnbooks (smaller coiled hymn book) available in the pews.
HEARING THE WORD….The “Old” and “New” Testaments will include 1 or 2 readings of scripture offered from a 3 year cycle of readings known as the “Lectionary”. The lectionary is used by many Christian Churches and so you may find that the readings we use are the same ones being used by other churches on that same Sunday. As part of our weekly ritual of “Hearing the Word” we also offer a “Now” Testament selection which may be a reading, poetry, video, drama, musical piece, etc. This acknowledges that God/Christ/Spirit continues to be revealed to us in contemporary ways. The sharing of the Old, New and Now Testaments will be followed by a presentation, time of reflection or a sermon to give meaning to the readings and other sharings for the day.
THE OFFERING…The offering is an act of worship which grows out of a belief that everything we have comes from the blessings of God. Responding then to all we have been given, we offer back to God a portion of our resources (our time, talent and treasure) to support the ministry and programs of our own church as well as various programs which further God’s mission and ministry across Canada and around the world.
If you are a visitor to our community, please ask the ushers for a Visitors Offering Envelope, which you can fill out to ensure that you will get a tax receipt for your gift.
If you decide to make Westminster United Church your home congregation, please ask the ushers to introduce you to any member of the Stewardship or Finance Committees. They will be able to help you set up regular offerings either with envelopes or through PAR (Pre-Authorized Remittance).
PAR is a simple way to make your offering. You simply decide on your level of contribution, fill out a PAR Request Form and each month your offering will be taken directly from your account. Many people in our community now use PAR and appreciate the service and ease that it provides. With PAR you can be assured that your offering gets to the church in a timely manner and without the hassle of having to prepare and remember an envelope each Sunday morning.
COMMUNION… The Sacrament of Communion is celebrated on average every 6-8 weeks at Westminster and everyone is welcome to participate in this sacrament. However, if you are not comfortable taking communion, please know that your wishes will be honoured. Instructions for the distribution of communion will take place during the service, and it will be explained how to participate in the serving of the elements. Generally, when you take the bread and the cup, the appropriate response is to say “Amen” or “Thanks be to God”. Westminster United offers communion in two ways, depending on the Sunday and it will either be served to you in your seat, or offered by intinction. When communion is served to you in your seat you are asked to hold your bread/wine until everyone is served and then we will take part together. When it is served by intinction, you will be invited to come forward in line to one of the stations where you will receive your bread and then dip it into the cup, and then eat it and return to your seat.
ACCESSIBILITY….Our facility is completely accessible with one level access to the front door, narthex, sanctuary, Sunday School and program rooms and the main hall. We also offer wheelchair friendly bathrooms on the main level of the building.
HEARING AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED SERVICES… For the hearing impaired we provide a sign language facilitator during worship, as requested. Please contact the office for more information or to set up this service for the Sunday’s you will be with us.
As well, we would be happy to provide large print bulletins for those who would find this easier to read and manage. Again, please contact the office to make these arrangements ahead of time.
EXPLAINING THE LANGUAGE OF THE CHURCH…Sometimes “church lingo” can be a bit confusing, and there may be terms used in the above synopsis that you may not understand. We hope this little explanation will help to alleviate any difficulty you may have in finding your way around the building and feeling comfortable in worship. If there are any we have missed that you hear, please feel free to ask any one of us and we will do our best to help, or point you to someone who can.
Narthex…is the entry lobby inside the front doors. This is where coffee is served on Sunday mornings before worship.
Sanctuary…the room where worship is held…the one with all the padded bench seats (pews)
Chancel…the area at the front of the sanctuary that is raised.
Pulpit and Lecterns…the pulpit is generally where the minister leads the services from. There is a lectern next to the pulpit which is sometimes used by additional readers, etc. As well, the signed facilitator uses and lectern for her work in translating the service.
The Hall…is the large open room next to the sanctuary…often where community gatherings and suppers are held.
Altar…the communion table at the front of the sanctuary.
Sunday School…is all manner of organized Sunday morning programs for children.
Offering plates…are the wooden plates passed around the congregation during the taking up of the offering. You can put your envelope or offering in this plate when it is passed to you and these will be taken to the front to be presented during the service.
Whether you have had lots, little or no experience with a worshiping community, you are always welcome to join us at Westminster United. Our hope is to greet you warmly and make you feel at home in our community.
Please feel free to ask any questions you have. Our ushers and staff will do their best to answer your questions or guide you to the person(s) who can. You can also call our office. The office is open on Friday mornings, but the answering machine will take messages any other time of day or night. If you leave a message we will get back to you just as soon as we can.
If you are interested in joining us and becoming a member of Westminster United Church please talk to the minister, staff, or any member of Church Council. We would be happy to help you with information and to explain the process of formally joining our community.
If you are in need of pastoral care, please contact the church office and we will be happy to make those arrangements for you.
And finally, if you are a visitor with us, we hope you will come back often. Please consider Westminster United your home away from home.