What to Expect When You’re New
The first time coming to a new church can be a little intimidating. Here is what you can expect when you come to Saint James.
Q: Where do I enter?
A: You can come in the back (south) entrance from the Bruce Street parking lot. You can also use the front (north) entrance from Askin Street. There is some parking on Askin Street, Craig Street, and Wortley Road.
Q: What if I’m in a wheelchair or use a walker, or can’t use stairs; how do I get into the church?
A: Park in the special parking spaces in the Bruce Street parking lot. Come in the back (South) door where you can enter the church at ground level. We also have an outside ramp if you want to go from the church to the Church Hall and the accessible bathrooms.
Q: What do I do then?
A: There will be a Greeter at each door to welcome you and hand you a bulletin. Don’t be afraid to tell these Greeters you are new or ask them questions. They are nice people.
Q: Where do I sit?
A: Some people tend to sit in the same pew each Sunday; some like to change places regularly so they can connect with lots of fellow parishioners. You can sit anywhere you like. It’s a good idea to sit near other people so you can see what they’re doing and get a little guidance if you get confused. You can ask any parishioner to tell you where the Sunday School meets and where you can find the Nursery or the bathrooms, or what page to turn to. You’ll find that fellow parishioners are nice people and ready to help.
Q: What about my children?
A: If you have young children with you and don’t want to put them in the Nursery/Sunday school just yet, there are activity packages at both entrances for them. Just ask one of those nice Greeters where to get one. If your children are not too shy, do take them to either the Sunday School/Nursery room (ages 0 to 10) or to the Youth group room (ages 11 to 16). The teachers and young parishioners are nice people and lots of fun.
Q: What do I do during the service?
A: All of the pews have hymn books and service books. The 8:30 service uses the burgundy Book of Common Prayer, the blue Hymn Book, and the white bulletin. The 10:30 service uses the green book of Alternative Services, the same Hymn Book, and the same bulletin, which tells you which page numbers to use throughout the service. For the 10:30 service, parts of the service are printed in the bulletin. So, you’ll be switching from white bulletin to blue hymn book to the burgundy or green service book and back again. However, there is no need to read along at every point because the whole service is spoken aloud as well.
Q: What do I do at the Offering?
A: Please don’t feel obliged to make an offering on your first visit. Simply smile at the nice Greeter as he or she passes the brass Offering plate. We are just glad you are here. If you do choose to give, you can use cash or coins or a cheque made out to St. James Westminster Church. If you’d like to use an envelope, you’ll find one in the little pocket at your place in the pew. If you fill in your name and address, a charitable receipt will be mailed to you.
If you’d like to join the St. James congregation, or just meet with one of our Clergy to talk and learn more, fill out the buff coloured form in that same little pocket and put it on the Offering plate. Or, during the week, phone the Church Office at 519-432-1915 for an appointment with our Rector.
Q: What do I do at the Communion?
A: All are welcome to receive the bread and/or wine, standing or kneeling; this includes your young children. When an Altar Server comes to your row, just get up with the rest of the nice people and follow them to the front of the church. Be sure to put up your kneeler before you leave your seat, so people can get back into the pew without tripping. Anglicans are nice people but they do trip and fall.
Communion is served at both the lower nave rail and at the high altar rail. The choice is yours. If you want just the bread and not the wine, simply cross your arms across your chest when the cup bearer approaches you. If you only want a blessing and no bread or wine, cross your arms across your chest. Then follow the rest of the people at the rail back to your pew.
Q: What do I do after the service?
A: After the quiet, meditative 8:30 service, pause and talk with the Clergy if you like, and tell them you’re new. Feel free to ask them any questions. Likely one of the Church Leaders will notice you are new and say hello. (We call these Church Leaders ‘Wardens’ — an old fashioned term that simply means they help take care of the church.) Don’t be afraid of them. They are nice people. Feel free to come to the Hall and mingle with people there. Of course, we understand if you just want to slip out quietly and think about what you’ve experienced.
There is a well-attended coffee hour after the 10:30 service. We would be very happy if you’d join us. For the first few months, take one of the RED coffee cups to signal that you are new and people will come over and introduce themselves. Ask them anything you’d like to know about our parish. You’re sure to have a lively conversation.
If you’d like to take a quiet tour of the church after the service, you are welcome to pick up a brochure at the Greeters’ tables at either entrance and walk around. Discover the stories behind the stained glass windows and the various plaques and displays.
Q: What Do I Call The Minister?
A: In the Anglican Church, we have “Rectors.” They are the priests or clergy people, male or female, who are in charge of the parish, lead the holy services, do the sermons, and offer pastoral care at the church, in people’s homes, or in hospitals and long term care facilities. Just ask a fellow parishioner how the current Rector likes to be addressed. Right now, all our Clergy like us to use their first names. They’re such nice people!
Q: How do I get involved in the Church?
A: Visit “Giving Back” to find out the many ways you can get involved at St. James. We appreciate all the gifts, talents, and abilities people bring. Come help with the various committees and ministries and get to know lots of nice people doing good things for the love of God and all of creation. Contact our Parish Life Coordinator to get connected!
So, if you’d like to deepen your faith, strengthen your relationships, and meet lots of nice people, you’ve come to the right church. See you next week!