If you have never worshipped with us before, here are a few bits of information that might make your first time more relaxing.

  • Our announcements of First events and community news (and there is lots happening) begin at 10:30. You will also find these printed in our “First News” which is an addition to our bulletin. Our time of worship begins immediately after.
  • The parking lot is not big enough for everyone but there is plenty of parking on the street. On Sundays, you can park in the City Hall lot across Okanagan Avenue. There are special spots near the building for handicapped parking.
  • Our Minister for Children, Youth and Young Families, Joanne Koster, tries to be available in the foyer between 10:00 and 10:30 am in order to offer information or an orientation to those arriving with children.
  • There are two main entrances to the building, one off Okanagan Avenue and one off the main parking lot (which is accessed from 5th Street SE). See Find Us.
  • You are welcome to stay with your child in Children’s Church for the first time or two until you and your child feel comfortable. You’ll be pleased with the way we respect children’s ability to think and to know God in their own way.
  • If you have children, feel free to go upstairs before the service to the large room where Children’s Church is held. You’ll likely run into some of the teachers or staff who will be delighted to meet you and your children and give you a bit of an orientation. If your children choose to go upstairs with the others during the service, you will know they are in good hands and where to find them. Read more about Children’s Church.
  • If your child is distressed or fussing, feel free to use the play room just off the sanctuary. The one-way glass and adjustable speaker allow you to comfort or play with your child while being able to hear and see what is going on. However, we expect a certain amount of sound from healthy children and you don’t need to worry about every sound your child makes. We love to have them with us.
  • There are cloth bags at the entrance to the sanctuary full of things for young children to do during the service. Feel free to take one as you come in and return it as you leave.
  • The church library is in the foyer just where you come in. Your children are welcome to pick up a book or two and take them into church if they like. We only ask that you replace them when you leave. You are also welcome to sign out books to take home.
  • The main floor of the church is fully wheelchair accessible and a handicapped washroom is available.  Unfortunately, the upper floor is not yet as accessible as we would like it to be (but we’re working on it).
  • There is usually an “order of service bulletin” given to you by the greeters as you enter the sanctuary. This lets you know what’s going to happen. It also contains numerous announcements of the ongoing activities of this busy church. Most often everything you need is projected onto a screen at the front, which means you can just sit back, relax and follow the order as it unfolds in front of you. Some folk prefer to just follow the hymn lyrics on the screen, but if you like to read the music or sing harmony, hymn books are also available in the pews.
  • Sometimes newcomers worry that they won’t know when to stand up or when to sit down. It’s easy – just do what everyone else does. Generally we stand up for hymns, unless instructed otherwise. If there are changes then someone will usually let you know.
  • We do have one practice that is unique to this congregation and we like it a lot. It is at the very end of the service and is called the Gift of Peace. The minister starts it with one other person. The person receiving places his or her hands together in the traditional attitude of prayer and the giver covers them with his or her own. The Giver says, “May the peace of God be with you.” The receiver responds with “And also with you.”  The greeting is passed to the person on the end of each row and that person passes the peace to the next person and so on to the end of the row. This way the whole congregation is connected as the blessing is passed from one to another. And if you don’t do it just as described, it doesn’t matter. It’s what’s in your heart that matters.


First Time Visitors — 4 Comments

  1. As a newcomer to your church, I am delighted with the church as it seems to be much more family oriented than it was when I first joined the United church in Calgary way back in 1958. How the years have passed so quickly. I will soon be a member of this very fine church with a lovely minister,and the good people who are members.Yours in God. hENRY.

  2. Thanks, Henry, for your kind comments. It’s the kind of church we try to be and I’m delighted that you are finding a home here.

  3. Thank you for welcoming me with such open arms, and for being so accepting and appreciating of children. My 18-month-old daughter, Petrea, was treated with such kindness and enthusiasm that I almost thought we were back at Knox United in Sutton, Ontario, where we moved here from. Your warmth was like a much-needed hug to our souls. We are so excited to be joining the First United family. Great sermon, great people, great atmosphere. 🙂

  4. We visited Scotland in September, 2014 and worshipped a few times in various churches/cathedrals during the month. In Kirkwall, Orkney Islands we worshipped at St. Magnus Cathedral and felt the service was very similar to the format of the United Church of Canada and specifically to our own services at First United Church, Salmon Arm. We spoke with the minister after the service (during coffee time) and she said she often checks the United Church of Canada website for inspiration!

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