It can be a little intimidating when you visit a church for the first time, so we thought we’d make it a little bit easier by explaining what you can expect to happen at our worship services on a Sunday morning. This is sometimes described as the “Breaking of Bread” (as this describes what we do) and sometimes referred to as the “Remembrance” (because Jesus directed His followers to eat bread and wine together to remember Him.) Bear in mind that the practical arrangements will differ slightly in each local church (for example, what time the service starts and how the seating is configured), but the main elements will be the same.
First of all, we keep seats free especially for visitors, often to the rear of where we meet – simply ask the person who welcomed you on arrival where is best to sit. As you enter, you may notice a collection box at the back of the room, but visitors are not expected to donate – please just be our guest! Soon after any visitors are welcomed, one of the men in the Church will go to the table in the centre of the room and first give thanks to God for the bread and for what it symbolizes (the body of Jesus); then he will break the bread. It will then be distributed to those who are part of the Church to eat. Next, he will then go back to the table and give thanks for the wine and what it speaks of (the blood of Jesus) and it’s likewise circulated to the same people.
The word “Church” is used biblically in this case, not to describe the physical building, but the gathering of people who, together, are the Church of God in a particular locality. So we respectfully ask you not to partake of the bread and wine until you become part of the Church – please see Acts 2:41-42 for the sequence of salvation, baptism and addition to the Church prior to participating in the fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers.
For the next 45 minutes or so, there is a period of hymn-singing and worship prayers, where the Church worships and gives thanks to God for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, His Son, and what He means to us and to God. These activities are led by those in the Church who are male (as the Bible teaches, in 1 Corinthians 14:34, that women are to be respectfully silent during meetings of the Church). We would again ask that you simply observe quietly during this time – but please do join in the singing if you’d like to! Hymnbooks (and hymnbook supplements) are available for you to use. Everyone usually stands while the hymns are being sung and we don’t use any musical accompaniment when singing the hymns.
At the end of the worship time, some announcements will be made, followed by a final prayer. Some churches may then have some Bible teaching (or the church may meet separately for this at another time in the week.)
Any questions or comments you may have are also very welcome, including about anything we do as a Church or why we do some things differently from other churches you may have attended, or about anything you hear during your time with us. Please feel free to ask any of those from the church – you can be sure of a friendly and helpful response!