Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Worship Minefield

There are all sorts of minefields you think you need to overcome when you first start going to Church. Like where to sit. Everyone has their usual spot, and woe betide the unknowing newcomer who pinches it, right? And, what if I don’t wear the right clothes and people think I look scruffy? My fiancé was mortified on one occasion when he forgot himself while going up to receive Communion. He was first out of the pew and rather than stepping back and waiting for the rest of us to file out and walk up ahead of him he just stalked off up the aisle, eager for his bread and wine. When I pointed this out to him later he spent all of the after-service tea and coffee time apologising to everyone else in our pew!
I managed to best this little faux-pas however, when, on a visit to Salisbury Cathedral for a Sunday service I, not being aware of the protocol, took myself off for Communion before the Steward instructed me to and managed to cause a bit of a hole in the line-up. So, if you’re going to make a mistake, go big and do it at a Cathedral.
The thing I’ve started to grasp though, and admittedly it’s probably taken me longer than it should have, is that people don’t care. 
read the rest here. Essential reading for any church (don't think to yourself that because you don't have Anglican formalities, you don't have traditions and in-house language, its just different to ours). This person, thankfully had her fiance to navigate her through the oddities. 
How many others just find it weird and don't bother coming back, because there are so many house rules they feel like an outsider, rather than a welcomed son or daughter?


  1. Has anybody found a good succinct but friendly 3-fold way to invite people to - receive communion / receive a prayer of blessing / stay as you are? P.S. Theological comment of who/what age is fit to receive is not up for discussion as a Curate!

  2. A couple attended our messy church a while ago, and expressed pleasure that we shared a meal together. "We went to this other church", said the man, "and the only food we got was a tiny little biscuit, and everyone had to queue up down the middle of the church to be given it."

  3. This is a continuing discussion in our church (although we have been noted as a 'welcoming church' - do you explain the service to someone? Lead them to a seat? Sit by them? It's a hard call - some would enjoy a 'buddy' to point out where they are in the service book (or help them find the page at the back of the book with the glory when we 'randomly' start saying it after the psalm - similarly with the grace) but others my husband for example) would rather skip the 'small talk' and 'hand holding' and be left to get on with it.

    Coffee afterwards cures all!