FAQs

Visiting a new church for the first time – especially a larger church – can be a daunting experience! We want to try to answer some of your questions before you get here, and hope that knowing a few things before you arrive will make your experience more comfortable and meaningful.

Of course, if you have other questions, don’t hesitate to call us at (717) 843-8041. You will find a friendly voice at the other end of the line happy to answer any questions you might have. If you have any questions that cannot be answered by that person, they will refer you to a member of the staff who will be able to help.

About our worship services

How long do they last?
What do people wear? Do I have to dress up?
Can I sit anywhere?
Can we bring the children to worship services?
Can we drop the children in Sunday School while we go to church?
Do I have to believe in a certain creed to come to your worship services?
Do I have to say anything during the service?
Do you kneel?
What are your customs with communion (the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper)?
Do you take up a collection (if so, how much should I give?)?
Do you expect your members to come every Sunday?

About visiting your church

Where do I park?
Are you so big that I’ll feel lost?
Will somebody call on me, or us, after we visit?
Can I just visit without joining the church?
How do I find out more about the church?
And if I wanted to, how would I join?

About your worship services

How long do they last?
The 8:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. worship services usually last around an hour.

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What do people wear? Do I have to dress up?
You will see a wide range of dress at all services, though typically dress tends to be more formal at the traditional services and less formal at the contemporary service. It’s pretty much up to you.  You will find anything from suits and ties and nice dresses to sweaters and sport shirts to jeans.

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Can I sit anywhere?
Of course! If you are uncertain about where you want to sit, just ask one of the ushers to help you.

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Can we bring the children to worship services?
Yes. We do, however, have a nursery for younger children available for all services. There is a point in both services before the sermon when children up to fourth grade are given the opportunity to leave the sanctuary and go to supervised activities designed especially for children.

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Can we drop the children in Sunday School while we go to church?
Because Sunday School is held between services, this is not an option. However, we would encourage you to bring your children for Sunday School, and stay for one of the excellent adult education opportunities available during this time. We also believe that it is important for families to worship together, and for children to learn about worship by being with their parents. However, we know that the sermon time can be difficult for children to sit still, so we have designed special programs for children during the sermon time.

Our Sunday School hour is from 9:30 to 10:20 a.m. for children, youth and adults. There is also ample opportunity for fellowship time over coffee in our Gathering Place.

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Do I have to believe in a certain creed to come to your worship services?
We would hope that you are seeking a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. However, we are all seekers. We do sometimes stand and affirm certain creeds (such as the Apostle’s Creed), but what is important is that we are all seeking to make Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives. He knows our hearts without having to listen to the specific words we profess.

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Do I have to say anything during the service?
You won’t be called on or expected to stand up by yourself. Out of respect for our Lord, we do stand together at certain points in our services…to say what we believe and to sing. But neither of those is mandatory.

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Do you kneel?
No.

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What are your customs with communion (the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper)?
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper on several occasions during the year. Anyone who has been baptized (in any Christian faith) may partake of the bread and the cup. (Out of respect for visitors and members who may have an allergy or aversion to alcohol, we use grape juice instead of wine.)

Sometimes when we celebrate communion, people are asked to come forward to receive the bread from one of the pastors and dip it into the cup (intinction). Other times, the bread and juice are served to people in the pews. Trays with the bread broken into small portions are passed along with separate trays filled with small cups of grape juice. When the congregation is served in the pews, we hold the bread until we are all served, then eat the bread together. The small cups of juice may be taken as they are served. No one is required to partake.

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Do you take up a collection, and if so, how much should I give?
Each service includes the opportunity for an offering – a time when we can give back to the Lord just a small portion of the gifts we have received. Offerings go for the work of the church to deliver the Good News and to help those who need it, here and overseas.

You are the sole judge of how much to give. Most members make an annual pledge and honor it each week. Among those who do not pledge and those who visit, some will give $1, some $5, some more – and some let the offering plate pass by. You are not obligated to give.

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Do you expect your members to come every Sunday?
We strongly encourage members to come as often as possible for the opportunity to worship the Lord together and be in fellowship with each other. There are, however, no quotas, standards, or guidelines for attendance – and we certainly don’t record who is there every Sunday and who is not for the purpose of keeping score! But something happens among those who do go to church fairly often: the more they go, the closer they seem to grow to God and to the love and power of Jesus Christ; and the more they seem to want to be there. All we ask of our members is what God asks of all of us – be faithful.

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About visiting your church

Where do I park?
See Come Visit Us. Parking is not a problem on Sundays.

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Are you so big that I’ll feel lost?
We don’t think so. While we typically have 400 to 500 people in worship every Sunday, we believe that you’ll find that we are really interested in each other as individuals. There will be people there to greet you, and they or one of the pastors should be able to answer your questions or give you directions.

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Will somebody call on me, or us, after we visit?
We typically follow up with a letter and with a phone call if you request it. We simply want to say “Thank you for coming” and provide you with an opportunity to get the answer to any question that might have occurred to you. We won’t be at all intrusive, but we do want to encourage you to visit us again!

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Can I just visit without joining the church?
Of course. Visitors are always welcome, and we are delighted to have you be a part of our worshipping community. We also encourage you to learn more about us by joining in any activities and programs of the church.

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How do I find out more about the church?
We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Newcomers Guide or any of the brochures describing activities in our church. You will find copies in the foyers at the rear of the sanctuary, or ask one of the greeters or ushers to help you to find a copy. Greeters and/or the pastors would be happy to answer any additional questions you might have.

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And if I wanted to, how would I join?
If you want to start on a path to church membership, we ask that you attend our New Member classes to get a good grounding in what we are all about – and to get to know some people. These classes are offered in various ways throughout the year.