We’re aware that Christian spiritual practice and worship is new to many folks.
Please know that all are welcome to join us – and please do participate in worship as you feel you are able (and it’s OK to sit out as you aren’t!). Most people dress very casually. If you are driving, there is ample parking in the lot. Though our space isn’t technically accessible for people in wheelchairs, there are no steps, and there is a washroom on the main floor and room for wheelchairs in our worship space. We do have folks with scent allergies, so seek to make the space as scent-free as possible.
Our primary reason for gathering is to worship God, the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of the Universe! In order to do that, the AbbeyChurch rests itself within a what is called a ‘liturgical’ tradition; meaning that we follow an ancient ‘flow’ and structure of worship which includes spiritual songs and hymns, readings, silences, teaching, prayers, Eucharist/communion (where bread and wine/grape juice become for us the body and blood of Jesus and are eaten) – and, finally, being sent out as instruments of God’s justice, peace, love and hope.
Within that liturgy and structure, we find lots of room for creativity as well as diverse expressions of the living streams of Christian faith. As you’ll see on other parts of this website, we occasionally do a Bluegrass-style worship or engage other specific cultural expressions.
We like to think of ourselves as informal yet reverent.
We usually have coffee and/or tea and snacks available at the back of the church before we worship – which you are welcome to bring with you to you chair and consume throughout the service.
Much of the year our worship is projected on a screen – which allows us to have our heads up to sing. Some seasons of the Church year we use printed text and books instead of the screen.
Speaking of Church year – there are colours we use during worship to represent what time of year we are (i.e. Lent (purple), Advent (purple or blue), Ordinary Time (green), Pentecost (red), Easter (white)). Each of these times brings a different ‘tone’ to worship; sometimes more joyful and upbeat and other times more reflective or contemplative. You’ll notice that the table/altar and sometimes the clothes the priest/minster wears has these colours present.
We gather in a semi-circle with the table / altar in the centre of us. The band is part of the circle. We are a relatively new and small community – averaging about 30-40 people each Sunday – but are seeking to grow. We’d love if you considered joining our community – no matter where you find yourself in terms of faith and doubt.
Children are a important part of our community. They either stay in with the adults with their own creative activities at the kids table so that they can grow as part of the community in the space, or else are sent out to the nearby Children’s room during the sermon so they can learn these ancient stories in their own way. The sound and energy which children bring to our common worship space is welcomed and embraced!
Our music is eclectic. There may be ancient and modern hymns, chants, praise songs and also modern expressions of musical worship from a range of traditions. We also use music from popular culture as a way to accent our belief that God is at work in art outside of our tradition and in all of creation. Our band is also eclectic; we have singers, cello, accordion, piano (and electronic keyboards) and guitar to accent the worship.
Here is a bit of a roadmap if you’re coming for the first time:
- As people gather there is music playing and folks are getting snacks. Please find a seat on either the chairs or the pews near to the starting time (it’s OK to be late every now and then too!).
- When it’s time to gather we ‘Toll the Bells’, followed by a short welcome.
- We ring a bell three times to invoke God – the Holy Trinity.
- We recognize the traditional lands of the First Nations as a gesture of respect and hope for deep reconciliation.
- We sing songs and during one of the songs the children set a table with (fake) candles, icons, a Bible and a cross.
- We often have a poem and/or a prayer to collect us – sometimes prayers are written and other times extemporaneous. Many are written by members of our community.
Listening and Responding:
- We read scripture (ie from the Bible). We usually have 1-3 scripture readings and these are usually a part of the ‘lectionary’; which is a group of readings that are read by many Churches; protestant and Catholic on that same Sunday.
- There is usually a teaching. We deliberately have a diverse group of teachers / preachers who break open the readings and challenge us to follow Jesus and serve the world. Sometimes the teaching is one person speaking – at other times it’s more of a dialogue. This teaching usually lasts about 10-15 minutes.
- After the teaching there is a short silence.
- We usually sing or say a creed (a poem of trust in God); usually a version of the most ancient of faith statements, the Apostles Creed.
- We have prayers. These are diverse in their expression and facilitated by different folks. Sometimes we’ll have contemplative / creative prayer stations. Other times a prayer litany and other times open space for people to pray aloud. There is usually a time for confession – where we admit our faults and frailty before God.
- After praying we sing a song and collect prayers which all are welcome to write on pieces of paper. We gather most weekdays to remember these prayers. Financial offerings for the work of the community in the world are also received. As a visitor or guest, people aren’t required to give.
- We gather for communion. Sometimes we chant this ancient prayer and other times we say it (all the words we need are on the screen). Communion is facilitated by a priest or a minister (usually Meagan+) who has been raised up by the wider Church to serve at Jesus’ table. We always use gluten-free bread and both wine (chalice) and grape juice (small cups).
- At a specific time folks can come forward to receive. All are welcome to receive but there is no pressure to do so. Though we consider this meal sacred and imbued with holy mystery and the very presence of Jesus, we don’t decide who God calls to eat at this table of hospitality – so all are welcome to come forward.
- Some weeks we may do baptisms (of adults or children), dedications or confirmations.
- People usually sing some contemplative songs or chants when others are receiving.
- We are blessed on our way with an ancient prayer of blessing.
- We make announcements about our common life together.
- We usually sing a song or two to send us along.
- We are dismissed and folks are welcome to stick around to chat & eat more snacks!
If you have any questions please drop us a line, or speak to someone as we worship – questions are always welcomed!