Whether you’ve been to church every Sunday since you were born, it’s been years since you ventured inside a church, or this is your very first time in church, you are very, very welcome to East End United (EEU). We hope you’ll find it a welcoming place to explore your faith and discover a community of friends.
Often the hardest part of going to church is making the decision to actually go inside. If you’re unfamiliar with what happens, don’t worry; that’s ok! Like most everything else you’ve ever done, the first time might seem a little strange or awkward. But, like the first time you learned to ride a bike, friends are here to make it easier and help you along the way.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens on Sunday morning?
Sunday worship is only one part of church, because lots of other stuff happens during the rest of the week. But Sunday morning worship – when we come together as a community of faith – to pray, praise, meditate, listen, talk, and sing together – is the high-point of the week for a lot of us. We hope it will be a time of spiritual nourishment for you too! The service is a mixture of things. There will be moments of spoken and silent prayer, music to listen to and songs to sing, announcements of activities and programs, readings of Scripture or other books of wisdom (you may be surprised the books, movies, plays, or poems we sometimes refer to!). Sometimes there’s a traditional sermon, other times there is a conversation where everybody gets the chance to toss in their two cents’ worth. Occasionally there is dance, drama, or special guests. While most of the service is led by one of the ministers, other people often provide leadership as well. Whatever happens (sometimes it is a surprise to everyone!), our goal is provide a time and place where we can gather together, think about life and our lives, pause for an hour or so, and try to put things into perspective. We take the time to pause and be community, be with God, and just be.
How will I know what to do?
When you arrive at worship, a greeter may give you a pamphlet that has all the bits of the service you’re likely to need. We also use an AV projector for images, prayers, words for songs, and YouTube clips. There are hymn books in the pews as well. Everything you need should be handy. And if you get confused, end up on the wrong page, sit when everyone else is standing (or vice versa), rest assured the roof won’t fall in! Go with the flow, and don’t sweat the small stuff (sound familiar?). The fact that you’re here is way more important than whether you get the details right!
I don't know how to pray, is that ok?
Popes and saints, ministers, and mystics, (i.e., those who should know how to pray) all have struggled with what it means to pray. And most of us still wonder whether we’re doing it ‘right.’ So in prayer, relax, and let your mind be open to whatever God might be saying to you. A wise sage once said that ‘Silence is the language of God.’ In prayer, we often worry whether we use the right words or have the right ‘technique.’ The truth is, prayer is simply letting yourself be vulnerable in the moment, bringing your joys and heartaches to God, and being open to what might be. That said, at East End we share times of prayer in silence, in spoken words, in music, and in community time, when people get a chance to name places, people, and situations that are cause for concern, joy, or mindfulness.
I don’t like being preached at and being told how to live my life! So why should I come to church?
Good point! If preaching were standing up at the front and wagging a finger at the crowd and scolding them for being sinners, most of us wouldn’t go to church. We’re not here to tell you how to live your life or scold you! But we at East End do believe that all of us – preachers and pew-sitters alike – can all lead better lives that make us happier, healthier, and more whole than we are presently. We believe that God wants us to be in ‘right relationship’ with ourselves, with each other, with creation, and with God. As Christians, we believe that Jesus shows us the way to do this, summed up in the Golden Rule of loving one another as we love ourselves (easy to say, often hard to do). This doesn’t involve scolding, wagging fingers, or telling you how to live, but exploring what it means to live a good life (and that’s not about having a super big-screen TV!).
I'm not sure whether I believe in God, is that ok?
Getting to know God – however you might understand God – is an on-going and lifetime process. Most of us (maybe none of us?) get to the point when we’ve decided we’ve figured it all out! That’s the nature of Christian faith; it’s an evolving, ever-changing relationship with God and with the community in which you explore faith (that’s why ‘church’ is sometimes more than just an hour on Sunday mornings!). So, come with your curiosity and questions, your ‘faith seeking understanding,’ and let’s wrestle with it together! We don’t guarantee any answers, but God is always present in the questions and the dialogue!
Do I have to sing?
Singing and music have been a part of Christian worship since its earliest days. And the Psalms – which predate Christ by hundreds of years – are ancient songs we still use. At East End we have a lot of music: traditional hymns, contemporary songs, chants, YouTube videos, and streamed concerts. Like many churches we have a lead musician who plays piano and organ, sings, and leads the congregation in singing. There are many talented musicians in the congregation, who frequently sing solos, play violin, guitar, drums, flute, etc. And of course, there is the choir, who sing special pieces of music as well as provide a solid base for the congregation in singing. Don’t think you can sing? Well, that’s not a problem; most people who say they can’t sing, are actually much better than they think. At East End, you’re welcome to bring your best shower-time voice and sing along. No one is going to judge you! Find out more about music at East End here
What about the 'collection'?
Churches like East End are supported by the generosity of the people who come here, whether they are long-time members, newcomers, or visitors. All the bills, from ministers’ salaries to the gas and electricity, and all the activities and programs, are all paid for out of the ‘collection plate.’ We believe that our generosity is a spiritual response to the generosity God has shown in the many blessings we enjoy. Even in times of trouble, hardship, or grief, our God is a generous and loving God. Therefore, how can we not be generous ourselves, so that others can share in the abundance God has given us? During the service, offerings are ‘collected’ by passing a large plate. Some people will have their offerings in envelopes, others might put cash in, and still others may just pass the plate because they contribute through direct deposit to the church. And others may not be able to put anything in at all, because they are unable to do so this week. Do what you feel is right, and whatever you can give is a blessing, for both you and for the church.
I'm spiritual, not religious.
Ah, one of the favourite sayings of our time! At East End, we believe that all people are spiritual; being spiritual is our God-given nature. How we express our spirituality, how we live it out on a daily basis, is our religious practice. Being religious isn’t just about going to church on Sunday (and lots of us would say it isn’t about going to church on Sunday at all!), but how we nourish our spiritual lives and how we grow as human beings spiritually. For us, that happens when we come together as friends and explore faith questions, struggle with the big issues, and see how we can make a difference in the world around us, as well as in our own lives. And we call that church!
Am I going to be centered out?
Hey, who likes to be centered out? Not many people, so why would we do it? Indeed, some churches do point out people as a way of recognizing ‘visitors,’ but we don’t, here at East End. That said, you may find that numerous people, including the ministers, might approach you to welcome you, invite you to refreshments after church, or just be friendly. Don’t worry, we don’t bite! Share as much about yourself as you feel comfortable with, and if you want to be left alone in your thoughts, that’s ok too! Worship begins at 10:30 am, but lots of people show up and chat over coffee much earlier. Find out more about Rise and Shine before service and Coffee Hour after service, both only available online for now.
What do I wear?
Some people come to church in their ‘Sunday Best,’ while others wear jeans and T’s; most of us are in between. At East End we figure that if God doesn’t care what you wear to church, then we shouldn’t either! As long as you’re wearing something (we don’t want you to scare anybody else or get arrested), then you’re suitably attired!
What about children in worship?
An old saying goes that the children are the future of the church. But at East End we feel that children are the church, in the here and now, just like everybody else. So bring ‘em along! During the service there is a ‘Sunday school’ where your child’s faith is nourished and strengthened with age-appropriate materials by a trained teacher. Children leave for Sunday school part way through the service (so they don’t have to listen to the sermon!). If you’d rather your child stays with you in the service (and so gets to listen to the sermon), then that’s perfectly OK too! Children are noisy and active! That’s part of being a child!! So, if your child fusses or is chatty or is wandering hither and yon, don’t sweat it. We remember that Jesus bid the children to come to him, so we try our best to do the same.