If you're planning your first visit to St. Andrew's, we've put together some "Frequently Asked Questions" we hope might help you feel more comfortable!
What should I wear?
Bottom line, wear what you are comfortable wearing. We gather as God’s loved people; some come casual (especially to Wednesday and Saturday worship), many others more dressed up (especially to the Sunday 10 am service). It’s your call. After all, we are thrilled that you’re with us and want you to be more focused on the experience than what you’re wearing.
Will I fit in?
Whether you are old or young, coming as a family or on your own, like more traditional forms of worship or prefer something more modern, or even if you are totally unfamiliar with an Anglican church, you will find a place here and people who are just like you.
How will I know what to do?
We have a welcome team who will do their best to make you comfortable. There are no reserved seats in the church, so feel free to sit where you'd like. There are times during the service when people stand, sit, or kneel. The leaders of the service will invite you to do so as you are able. If you lose track, just watch what your neighbours do. It’s not necessary to kneel for the prayers; some people like to kneel, and others prefer to sit. If you have difficulty standing or are minding a baby or toddler, feel free to sit throughout the entire service. Many people do.
Do I have to put money in a collection plate?
We do take a collection during the service. Like everyone else, we have to pay the bills, but making a financial contribution during the service is totally voluntary. If you don’t want to put anything in the plate the day you visit us, just hand the plate along to your neighbour. Many regular members donate by pre-authorized payment or write a monthly cheque, so you won’t be the only one passing.
When are the services and what are they like?
We have four services every week, all of which typically include holy communion:
Wednesday morning, 10:00: traditional language, informal feel, no music; lasts about 45 minutes
Saturday afternoon, 4:30: modern language, energetic music provided by a band with guitar, piano and drums, very informal, all ages present and participating; lasts about 45 minutes
Sunday morning, 8:00: quiet and contemplative, traditional language, no music; lasts about 45 minutes
Sunday morning, 10:00: the biggest service of the week, alternates between contemporary and traditional language; music provided by organ and choir; church school takes place during this service for children; fairly formal in atmosphere; lasts about 80 minutes
Can I take communion? What do I do?
All Christians regardless of church background or age are welcome to take communion.
During the Sunday 10:00 service, when it comes time for communion, people are directed row by row to the front of the church. During other services, people just come forward themselves in a less ordered way! Wednesday and Sunday, we line ourselves along the altar rail either standing or kneeling; on Saturday, we line up in front of the altar.
The clergy will speak a short prayer and place a thin round communion wafer in your open palm. You don’t need to say anything, but a lot of us reply with a quiet, heartfelt Amen. You can then take the wafer from your hand and eat it. In the Anglican Church we drink real wine from a common cup (we sometimes call it “the chalice”), which is offered to you by church members assisting the clergy (we call them “eucharistic ministers”). They too say a few words, and you take a sip from the proffered cup. It’s okay to touch, hold, or steady the cup. It’s also okay to receive only the wafer. If you would rather not consume the wine, pause and cross your arms over your chest to hear the prayer. If you don’t want to take communion at all but would like a blessing, go up to the front with everyone else and just cross your arms over your chest. You’re also perfectly welcome to remain in your seat during this part of the service. If you have mobility concerns and would like communion brought to you, just signal an usher and they’ll make it happen for you.
How do I get into the church?
There are two main doors, one on the north side of the church off the parking lot there, and one on the south side. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, and on Sundays prior to the 10 am service, both doors are unlocked and people come both ways. On Sundays at 8 am, and once the 10 am service begins, the north door is locked for security reasons.
If you would prefer to use the elevator (both entrances have stairs), the entrance is on the south side of the church. There is a doorbell there to call one of our ushers, who will assist you.
Is St. Andrew's a kid-friendly church?
We are welcoming of all kinds of families, and if yours happens to include children or grandchildren, we want them to feel at home with us, too. Our belief is this: children and youth are not future members of the church; they are present with us now, and their interests and their contributions are important to us. We also believe you and your family should choose to take part in our services and programs in a way that best supports your needs.
Where do I get more information about St. Andrew's?
There are information leaflets at our Welcome Table you can take home with you. There are also cards that you can fill in to help us identify you as a new member and better meet your needs in each pew. You can leave the completed form on the collection plate or give it to one of the greeters or clergy. Someone from the church will get in touch with you, and you can ask any questions you may have. No obligation! You can also call the church office for information.
I’m shy coming to a new place. How do I get to know people?
We make an effort to greet and welcome visitors and make them feel at ease. The goal is to make the experience agreeable to you, so we’ll follow your cues as to how your visit will go. We won’t single you out or mob you. If you want to be anonymous for a while, we respect that. If you want to get acquainted right away, we have people who will be happy to get to know you and introduce you to others. And after services each Sunday we get together – shy or not, members or not — for a coffee, tea or juice and some friendly, casual conversation. You’re welcome to stay for that and get to know us in a social setting.
What if I say or do the wrong thing while I’m at the church?
We all do from time to time, but honestly there aren’t that many ways to slip up. And if you happen to get off track or go astray, you couldn’t pick a better place to do so!