At some point everyone at Central went to church for the first time: yes, there are some people who can never remember not going to church. For many though, coming to church is a relatively recent experience.
We want it to be a memorable experience for all the right reasons!
So we understand that coming to church for the first time might seem daunting, especially if you don’t know anybody or if you are unfamiliar with what we do.
So rest assured you’ll be made welcome at the door, when our stewards will simply say ‘good morning’ and hand you a weekly service booklet which will introduce what we’re all about. So you’ll know already somebody within a minute of arriving!
Feel free to sit wherever you like – there’s a balcony if you want to watch from a distance (and have brought your binoculars). Alternatively, you might prefer to join in at the front, closer to the action where the worship band play and our minister or local preacher is most likely to lead worship and talk with our children who sit in the first few rows of seats.
Methodists are famed for their love of music! Our worship group often accompany contemporary songs with piano, electric guitars, drums, violins, flutes and acoustic guitars, but we also respect and value Methodism’s longstanding heritage of traditional hymns, typically accompanied by the grandeur of a pipe organ.
The Sunday morning service always contains one or more Bible readings, often read by volunteers from amongst regular members of the church: we believe that God inspired the words in the Bible to serve as a guide for how we should lead our lives so we read from it regularly.
There’s almost always a talk or ‘sermon’ in which the minister or preacher might talk about a Christian’s response to a topical issue, such as helping refugees or preserving family life, or expand upon a key message in the Bible sometimes associated with special times during the year such as Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus who we believe is the Son of God.
We usually celebrate Holy Communion on the first Sunday morning of the month, when we share bread and wine in recognition of Jesus’ sacrifice for each of us.
Prayer – when we talk to God and listen for His prompting – occurs several times during a church service and we almost always have an ‘offertory’ when the church congregation is invited – but not obliged – to give some money, typically to sustain the church buildings and help those in need.
Yes, sometimes we take things seriously – how else can we deal with important issues such as marriage or life and death?
… but we’re also inclined to laugh for we’re happy about God’s message and want to tell everybody about it!