What To Expect On A Sunday?

When you celebrate with us on a Sunday morning, you can expect a blend of the traditional and the progressive: old familiar hymns and new music; traditional order, but unconventional, inclusive words. Children are welcome at the 9:45 service, then are invited to go to Sunday School at about 10:15.

Come as you are. There’s no dress code and no rules. You’ll be greeted warmly at the door, and given a bulletin (although you won’t have to look at it; the liturgy is projected on a screen at the front of the sanctuary). Sit anywhere you like—in the back of the semicircle, or right up front. There are no assigned seats. At the Passing of the Peace, you may get right in there and share your peace, or hang back for awhile until you’re comfortable. After the service, the congregation moves from the sanctuary and down the stairs to the Fellowship Hall, where coffee and other refreshments are served. You can greet members of the church and the pastors, and talk as long as you like.

Children & Youth

Children of all ages are welcome to each Sunday celebration. There is a children’s space in the sanctuary with rocking chairs and quiet activities for preschoolers and their caregivers, and after a children’s conversation at the front of the sanctuary in the middle of the service, there is Sunday School for ages 3 through 12, and a youth group for junior-high and high-school students.

“Are you worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me, get away with me and watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
– Jesus of Nazareth

Sermons

In our kind of church, there’s no one who will tell you what to believe about God, or about anything else, for that matter. We listen to sermons simply to open up new possibilities about how the divine might be experienced, how we might be more aware of where we’ve come from, and why we believe we believe. Through the sermons we are implicitly asked: are the positions we hold making us more compassionate? Is what we believe about God making us more self-aware? Is it leading us to greater awe and respect for life and for nature? Is it making our world wider? The sermons use stories, bible exposition, language study, poetry, laughter, projected images—anything, really, to bring new means of thinking and feeling our way toward the God connection promised by Jesus.

All sermons can be viewed on our YouTube page. Please subscribe to our channel.

Prayer

There is no prescribed way to think about or do what is commonly called “prayer” in our community. However, each Sunday celebration contains both silent prayer and guided prayer in the service. The congregation is invited to write prayer requests on the yellow cards in the pew rack, place it in the offering plate, and have the prayer brought to voice later in the service.

Seasons + Sign-Acts

We mark the seasons of the Christian year—Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Eastertide, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time—as opportunities to experience, reflect upon, and respond to the entire range of moods, music, colours, Scriptures, and other God connections that the common Christian tradition affords us.

Every Sunday at 9:45 there is a visual reminder of the presence of God through a sign-act: the waters of baptism, lighting of Advent candles in December, the Christ candle in Eastertide. We celebrate the two traditional sacraments, water baptism, and communion once a month with bread (gluten-free at all times) and—according to a tradition rooted in the 19th Century Temperance movement—unfermented grape juice. We usually celebrate Communion in the front of the sanctuary. Every human being is welcome and encouraged to receive the elements of Communion together with us.

Music

Each Sunday brings a mix of music played on keyboards and sometimes drums or handbells or other instruments, and, of course, sung by our choir and congregation. We sing both traditional and newer hymns (with inclusive language from the United Church of Canada’s Voices United and More Voices), and some folk-inspired music from the Celtic, African, Gospel, and Latino traditions. We begin the service, frame the sermon and prayers, and then end the service with exuberant congregational singing.

Sherwood Park United Church

Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter.