Yes, absolutely! It can be intimidating to walk in the doors of a church, especially if you’ve never gone to church or it’s been a long time. But rest assured, you are very welcome at any of our churches.
In most churches, our main opportunity to gather together is the Sunday worship service. Many churches also have different kinds of services and events during the week. You don’t have to go to church on Sunday to attend these other activities.
Are you considering visiting an Anglican church? Perhaps you’ve passed a local church and wondered what goes on inside. Maybe a friend has invited you to come to her church, or you’re attending a wedding or another celebration.
No matter what the reason, you are very welcome at any of our churches. If you’ve never attended church or if it’s been a while, many sights and sounds may be unfamiliar to you. This brief guide might help.
Anglicans believe that the central thing we do as Christians is gather together for worship. In most churches, our main opportunity to do so is the Sunday worship service. This is the main time during the week when members of the congregation come together as a community. In most churches, the service is a Communion service, sometimes called the Eucharist or the Mass. In some of our churches, Communion happens every second week with Morning Prayer, led by lay leader in the congregation, on the other weeks.
Many congregations also have different kinds of worship services, educational opportunities, activities and events during the week. Everyone is welcome to participate.
All of our service times are posted on the find a church page. If you have any questions about service times or locations - or even which of our congregations might be the best fit for your family - please be in touch with our clergy.
There is no “dress code” for church. Some people may dress informally, and others more formally. Wear what feels comfortable to you. All children are welcome. Many of our churches provide programming for kids of different ages during the worship service, or you can keep your kids with you.
You may want to arrive a few minutes before the worship service begins. You can sit wherever you feel the most comfortable.
There will be materials to help you follow the service and participate. In some churches this may be a paper leaflet and books found in the pew. In other churches the information you need may be projected on a screen.
Feel free to ask someone near you for help and guidance in following the service and how to join in.
Most services are a mix of readings, prayers and a sermon. Some services have music, including hymns or songs sung by the congregation. Other services (particularly early on Sunday mornings and during the week) have no music.
You might be wondering when you should do what: kneel, sit, stand, say “Amen.” Just relax and follow what others are doing. You may see people bowing or making the sign of the cross at certain times, but this is a personal choice.
In most churches, at one part of the service called the Peace, people near you may greet you with a handshake and the words, “The Peace of Christ” or “Peace be with you.” Feel free to participate in a way that feels comfortable or appropriate to you.
Take in the music, the words of the Bible and the silences. Contemplate the symbols and images – the cross, the altar, the candles, the stained glass windows, the hand-crafted banners – that may enhance the worship space.
During most Sunday morning services, there will be a collection of money to support the congregation and the needs of others. You will see people passing a basket or plate. You’re welcome to contribute, but don’t feel obligated. Many churches have envelopes for visitors in the pew, or you can put an offering straight into the plate.
All baptized Christians are invited to receive the consecrated bread and wine at Communion. There may be some instructions in your leaflet about how Communion is received in that particular church.
You’re welcome to come forward for a blessing, whether or not you’re baptized. If you want the priest to bless you, cross your arms over your chest when he or she approaches you.
You can also choose to stay in your seat during this part of the service – it’s up to you!
Many of the congregations have a time for refreshments and conversation after the Sunday service. You’re welcome to join in and mingle, but don’t feel obligated to stay. Feel free to introduce yourself to the clergy and to ask questions. Pick up flyers about upcoming events and services. And most importantly, come back! We’d love to see you.