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  • Jim Etherton

What Happens in Church?

Perhaps you’ve never been to church – or not for a while. The idea of going to church might make you nervous. So what can you expect if you decide to venture into the Baptist Church at 10:30 one Sunday morning?

Firstly, you’ll receive a warm welcome from one or two people in the foyer. They’ll give you a hymn book; you can then go through the glass doors into the main room and take a seat.

Before the service starts our organist will play some music. Then at the start, the person leading the service will say a few words which may include some words from the Bible and/or a prayer. This will be followed by a hymn (we use a mixture of traditional and modern hymns). During the service we normally sing four or five hymns – don’t worry if you don’t know them or can’t sing – there is nothing wrong with just listening or singing out of tune (I can’t sing in tune either!).

The service will include prayers (spoken by the leader or by others in the congregation). There may be a brief time of silence for personal prayer. At some point the church secretary will announce what is happening in the coming week – then there is an opportunity to donate to the church (but we never expect visitors to give anything). Someone will read one or more passages from the Bible. For about twenty-five minutes, the leader will speak about what those Bible passages mean and how they encourage and challenge us for our lives today.

Once a month (on the first Sunday) the service includes “communion” – the sharing of bread and wine in a symbolic meal. The leader will explain what this means and what we do – you can just sit and watch if you do not feel ready to take part.

At the end (normally around 11:30) there is time to chat before we leave.

In many ways, what we do is very simple and ordinary, with the minimum of fuss or ceremony. But as we do it together with hearts and minds open to God it can become quite special. You would be very welcome to come and see for yourself.

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