So you’re considering a visit to St. Peter’s. Maybe it’s because you’ve passed by and wondered what goes on inside. Maybe a friend has invited you to come, or you will be attending a wedding or another celebration.
No matter what the reason, you are very welcome. 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 most important thing we do as Christians is gather together for worship. At St. Peter’s, we do this on Sunday mornings (8:30 and 10:30), Thursday mornings (at 10:00) and Tuesday mornings (at 7:30). Worship services may also be called the Eucharist, Communion or Mass. You can wear whatever you feel comfortable in.
Before You Come
The easiest way to find out what’s happening at St. Peter’s is to check out our website or call the church office (905-372-3442).
When You Arrive
Show up a few minutes early. A greeter will provide you with a leaflet with details about the service and a Welcome brochure about the events/programs at the church.
You can sit wherever you feel the most comfortable. In the pews you will find two books which include the red Book of Common Prayer and a blue Hymnal or song book, which you can use to sing along when the congregation is singing hymns. The Book of Common Prayer is used during our traditional services (Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Sunday at 8:30). It sets out the form or structure of the service and provides the text for most of the prayers. For the service on Sundays at 10:30, the service is printed in a bulletin given to you by the greeters.
During the Service
Services are a mix of readings, prayers, hymns and a sermon. 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 crossing themselves at certain times, but this is a personal choice. Do what feels comfortable for you.
Enjoy the music, the words of the Bible, and the silences. Take time to contemplate the symbols and images – the cross, the altar, the candles, the stained glass windows – that may enhance the worship space.
At one part of the service, called the Peace, everyone is invited to greet each other. People near you may offer you a handshake with the words “Peace of Christ” or “Peace be with you.” Feel free to say hi to the people around you.
About halfway through the service, we take up a monetary collection. As the gifts of bread and wine for communion are offered at the altar, the people also offer their gifts. You will see people passing a plate. You’re welcome to contribute, but don’t feel obligated. We have envelopes for visitors in the pews, or you can put an offering straight into the plate.
All are welcome to receive the bread and wine at communion. You’re welcome to come forward for a blessing only, just cross your arms over your chest when the priest approaches you.
You can also choose to stay in your seat during this part of the service – it’s up to you.
After the Service
Except for the Sunday 8:30 service, we have a coffee hour following each service. Feel free to join in and mingle, but don’t feel obligated to stay. If you do stay, you can introduce yourself to the priest and ask questions; pick up flyers about upcoming events and services; and most importantly, come back! We’d love to see you.