What Can I Expect on Sundays? Free parking. Need to mention that right away. We have a church parking lot, and the parking is free on Sunday mornings at the Green P parking lot across the street. You can also reach us by subway, with a short bus ride ( the 124 from Lawrence Park Station).
Now that you have arrived, you are ready to enter the church building through the glass doors. Here is a brief description of what happens at Lawrence Park Community Church on Sunday mornings.
Worship begins at 10:30, but many people arrive a few minutes early in order to pour a cup of coffee which they then take into the sanctuary—the room where we worship together.
If you have children who need nursery care, one of the greeters at the door will take you to our nursery facilities. Your children will be well cared for, and if there is a problem, someone from the nursery will come and get you to make sure your children are comfortable. If your children are a bit older, bring them into the sanctuary. More on that in a minute. Take a seat. Anywhere is fine.
Shortly before the service begins, some gathering music is played—a prelude, in church-speak. Next, one of our ministers ( we have 3) walks in and welcomes us all. We hear a bit about what the service will be about, followed by a land acknowledgement. Then we take a few deep breaths, and sing our first hymn with the choir. The words appear on the television screens.
After the first hymn, the minister invites us to share the peace of Christ with each other. This is followed by everyone getting up to shake hands or bump elbows. This takes a few minutes - we're friendly people! Many of us walk all over the sanctuary greeting each other, no need to stay in your seat.
On the screens in the sanctuary, you'll see the faces of people at home greeting each other. Our services are live streamed, and people attend from all over the city, the country and the world. We like to keep them in the service, so we use the live feed on our screens throughout the service. This provides close captioning for everyone, including people who are in the sanctuary. There are also hearing enhancement headsets available at the back of the church.
Next, once people have taken their seats again, the minister will provide a mini sermon for the children. After that, the Sunday School teacher lead the children to rooms where they will engage in their own activities. If you would rather keep them with you, that is fine as well.
Next, a congregational member will read scripture, and the minister will deliver a sermon that applies the Bible's wisdom to our modern world. We believe in making our faith very relevant to what is happening right now. The sermon is usually followed by an anthem performed by the choir that amplifies one of the themes of the sermon and/or scripture reading.
After that a prayer for the life of the congregation, nation, and world is offered. A collection for the support of the church’s work is taken. We certainly don’t expect guests to feel obligated to put anything in the collection! Many members, who give via PAR or credit cards, also let the plate go by. You won’t feel out of place. The minister then makes some annoucements about upcoming activities at the church.
The service ends with a hymn, a blessing and a final musical offering—the postlude. That's the official end of the service, but most of the time, people hang around for twenty minutes or more to talk, have a coffee, meet some new people and hang out. We play jazz music in the sanctuary to help keep the mood light. We believe Christians gather to nurture joy, so we encourage people to enjoy themselves at the end of the service, hopefully buoyed by a feeling of hope - the good news.
Online, there is also often a lively discussion for fifteen minutes or so, moderated by one of our ministers.
By noon, in person and online, most people have left the service to get back to their lives, lightened and carried by the blessing of the good news provided by our faith.