Newcomer’s Guide

As a newcomer, you might have a few questions about what happens during worship at Church of the Ascension and what is expected of you.

What Should I Wear to Church?
What Happens When I Get To Church?
Children
Room Temperature
To Kneel or to Stand?
The Collection or Offering
Communion or the Eucharist
Ministry of Prayer & Healing
The Family Room
Coffee Hour
Special Ceremonies (e.g., baptism, wedding)

What Should I Wear to Church?
Parishioners dressed in jeans and in a suitThere is no dress code at Ascension. You will find that some parishioners dress up for Sunday services while others attend in jeans and t-shirts. Be comfortable and be yourself.

What Happens When I Get To Church?
On any given Sunday, you should expect the following to happen . . .

You arrive and enter through our main doors under the overhang on the west side of the building. Someone will smile and greet you — helping you with the door if you need assistance. You can mingle in the Gathering Space, hang up your coat, and visit the Sunday School classrooms, washroom, etc. before entering the church proper in the Sanctuary.

Parishioners greeted by a sidespersonAs you enter the Sanctuary, a “sidesperson” can help you find a seat in a pew. (If you attend with children, please take them with you into for at least the beginning of the worship service.) We do not have assigned seating, so feel free to sit anywhere.

A lay leader of the congregation called a warden will make announcements at the beginning of the service and invite anyone present to share significant life events that have happened to them recently.

The order of the service, prayers, and songs will be projected onto screens at the front of the church as the service progresses.

Children

If you are attending the 10:00 am service, the children will be called to the front for a Children’s Focus (a “sermon” for children, which is often interactive). Then the children will leave for Sunday School or the Nursery. (They will return near the end of the service for the Communion or Eucharist. More details on that below.)

Activity bags for childrenIf your children would prefer to stay with your during the service, that’s okay with us. If you find they’re getting a little restless, there are activity bags for them on the pew at the entrance. Feel free to pick one up at any time during the service.

Room Temperature
Shawls for parishioners feeling coldRoom temperature is one of those things where you can’t satisfy everyone. If you’re feeling chilly during the service, there are a lovely set of shawls on the pew at the entrance. We call them Daisy’s Shawls after a past member of the church (who has since passed away) who always used them. Feel free to get one at any time during the service.

To Kneel or to Stand?
At Ascension, we are pretty relaxed about personal worship preferences. If you prefer to kneel or sit or stand during a prayer, feel free to do so. Please do what you feel is comfortable. Pews with kneelers (small fold-down benches to kneel on) are located mostly in front few rows of pews.

The Collection or Offering

Collection plateOfferings are donations of money (cash or cheque) used to pay church expenses and to provide resources and ministries.

During the 8:30 am service, a collection plate for the offering is at the doorway into the Sanctuary.

During the 10:00 am service, collection plates are circulated through the congregation during a hymn. If you would like to make an offering, please place it on the plate at that time. If you become a member of Ascension, you can receive a boxed set of envelopes for each week of the year to take home and use when you come to church.

Communion or the Eucharist
Wine chalice and bread patten for EucharistThis is the climax of Anglican worship. Any baptized person is welcome to join us at Communion to receive bread (actually a wafer of flat bread) and wine, representing the body and blood of Christ. People come forward by rows. The sidespeople, whom you met as you came in the Sanctuary, help “direct traffic”, so to speak. Watching those around you can also help you navigate this portion of the worship. If you would like to participate but are not comfortable with Communion, you come forward and have a blessing. It would be helpful to the priest if you indicate you wish a blessing by coming forward with your arms crossed in an X over your chest.

You may eat your wafer of flat bread and then sip the wine from the common chalice. The chalice is wiped down after each person drinks for sanitary reasons, however, some people prefer not to sip the wine. Eating the bread alone is an acceptable form of Communion. However, the practice of some Christians of dipping the bread in the wine (called intinction) is not allowed for sanitary reasons. For those who have a medical condition such as celiac disease, we have a gluten-free bread option. Please speak to one of the clergy, preferably before the church service, so that they can arrange for someone who has not touched the other bread to administer the gluten-free bread for you.

Ministry of Prayer & Healing
Anointing with the Oil of Healing is available when you take Communion. Just advise the clergy person administering Communion that you would like to be anointed. Anointing of the palms or the forehead is accompanied by a short prayer for healing of body, mind or spirit.

The Family Room
If you need to have a quieter area to worship in – perhaps you have a child who needs a more comfortable place or you just want a few minutes alone – feel free to use our Family Room. It is on the north side of the Sanctuary. As a courtesy to those in the nearby pews, please keep the doors closed and watch the service on the TV.

Coffee Hour
Join us for fellowship and snacks in the Parish Hall following the 10:00 a.m. service. This is a popular time for members of Ascension and gives us an opportunity to meet you.

Special Ceremonies
Any member of the clergy will be happy to discuss Baptisms, First Communion, Confirmations, Weddings, Funerals, etc. They can also respond to any questions or concerns you have about Ascension’s worship services.