What We Do On Sunday Morning
Our purpose in gathering in church on Sunday morning is to worship Almighty God as the Creator and Governor of the universe.
Christian worship is full of music. There will be a short musical prelude before the service. Its purpose is to give you a time to put away the cares of the world and prepare yourself for worship.
Throughout the service there a number of hymns (songs in praise of God) sung by the congregation. Those that are able stand as the introduction is being played. The words are projected on the wall but there are hymn books (The Book of Praise) in the pews for those who want to have the written music.
Hymns are metric (in verse) versions of the Psalms in the Bible, paraphrases of Biblical passages, or devotional poems in praise of God. They are often thanksgiving for the blessing God gives us.
Many hymns can be sung to different tunes so the one we use may not be the one you are familiar with, even if you have sung the words before. Just listen and join in as you feel able. If you are uncomfortable singing, do not feel you have to join in. Though singing together is one of the ways we connect with each other many people just stand silently and sing in their hearts. If you do wish to sing, do so with joy.
Prayer is a conversation with God, praising Him for His holiness, thanking Him for His benevolence, confessing to Him our shortcomings and sins, and asking Him to supply our needs. Most prayers are offered on behalf of the congregation by the minister. There are some times when a moment of silence is given so that worshippers can silently tell God the matters that are on their hearts.
Prayers of Adoration and Confession
These prayers, spoken on behalf of the congregation by the minister, are designed to open our worship by conversation with God. We silently confess our sins and ask Him to forgive us.
Assurance of Pardon
Having prayed for forgiveness, the congregation is assured of God’s pardon for our sins.
The Lord’s Prayer
When Jesus’ followers asked him to teach them to pray this is the prayer he taught them. Since it is translated in various ways, we project the words of the prayer on the wall. These are the words as contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith.
We pray for those known to us who have need of God’s help in matters of health, relationships, money, work, or any other matter. Some people are known to the congregation and have asked that their names be mentioned in the prayers of the congregation and others are prayed for anonymously.
“Thou” At various times the old-fashioned pronoun Thou (Thy, Thine, Thee) is used in prayers etc. in reference to God. Thou is not used in ordinary modern English but is the exact equivalent of the French pronoun tu. It is the familiar form of you and is used in addressing members of the family or intimate friends. It is our great privilege to be invited by God Himself to speak to him, the king of the universe, as friends.
We are people of the Book. The 66 books of the Bible are our standard of teaching and behaviour. Each worship service centres on the lessons taught by the Bible. The exact format changes from time to time but typically will include a Psalm (usually read responsively) and reading from the Old Testament (common to Christians and Jews) and a reading from the New Testament (specifically Christian). We have excellent readers but the text is also projected on the wall. Bibles are in the pews for those who want to read the texts before the service or to refer to them during the sermon.
All we have or ever will have comes from God. It is our custom to return a portion of our wealth to God to support the work of His church. This is done entirely on a voluntary basis. When the plate is passed, feel free to give or not as you see fit. Offering envelopes are available from the ushers and tax receipts can be issued for donations over ten dollars.
After the offerings have been collected the ushers take the plates up to the front as the congregation sings. The minister asks God to bless the money and the work of His church.
It is the privilege of the minister to explain the meaning and significance of the scripture passages to the congregation and to urge the congregation to the appropriate actions in their lives. This teaching is contained in the sermon.
At the end of the service the minister asks God to bless the congregation as they seek to live lives of Christian service in the week to come.
After the benediction, the congregation sing Amen, which is a Hebrew word meaning “truly” or “I agree”, three times.