When I arrive, what can I expect?
On a Sunday morning, as soon as you enter Eastminster, you will be met by a greeter who will smile and hand you an order of service, which we call a bulletin. The bulletin tells you pretty much everything you need to know — what the hymns are, when to stand and sit, and any prayers and responses that require the congregation to join in are written out in bold. Don’t worry. The service leaders guide the congregation through. It is not a test – we’re just glad you are here.
You will be shown to the sanctuary, the large gathering space, where we hold worship service. At Eastminster, there is usually a friendly buzz in the air before service as neighbours greet each other and catch up. But this place of fellowship is also a place for reflection and thoughtful contemplation, so if you chose to use this as alone time — that is perfectly fine.
Service begins at 10:30 am, usually with a welcome and an overview of the Life and Work of the congregation. Then music is played to help us focus on worship. Maybe you’ve had a hectic week. Now is a good time to breathe deeply and settle your thoughts.
I’m coming with kids. Is that OK?
Absolutely! If your children are toddlers, we have a nursery where they’ll be well cared for by volunteer, parent care-givers. Just ask the greeter about the nursery and they’ll be glad to help you out. If your children are school-aged, bring them into the sanctuary with you. If they are restless, there is a table at the back with crayons and craft supplies where they will find other kids of the congregation. About 10 or 15 minutes into the services, there’s a time for sharing with the children when all children are called forward to join the minister. After that, they’ll go out to church school with our volunteer teachers. At first, you may wish to go with them to get them settled and return to the sanctuary. That is perfectly fine.
Do I have to dress up when I come to church?
No. Our service style is contemporary, our hospitality is relaxed and our congregation represents a wide range of tastes. Yes, some dress up a little – but you certainly won’t feel out of place if you dress casually. The most important thing is: you’re here.
What about money?
During service collection plates are passed. The money collected is used to help pay the overhead of operating the church, to further the work Eastminster does in the community, and to support work the United Church does throughout the world. Members have made a commitment to a weekly amount. Some put it in the plate; others choose to donate electronically.
Visitors, and those who attend regularly but are not yet members, donate what they feel they can. There are envelopes available in the pews that you may fill out if you would like a tax-receipt (you may wish to do this before service begins).
We understand that times have been difficult. We wouldn’t be fulfilling our mission if we made you feel awkward or burdened. So, give what you can, if you can. The most important thing is: you’re here.
If I start coming out regularly, do I have to volunteer for things?
You can contribute as much or as little of yourself as you like. But it’s fair to say of just about any experience in life that the more you put in to it, the more you get out of it. Start out by getting to know people and feeling at home here. You will not be pressured to join anything, but in time, you’ll discover opportunities to contribute that feel right for you. You can find many ways to contribute listed here on this website. Others you’ll discover just by talking to people.
What happens after the service?
There are always refreshments after the service and it’s one of the best ways to get to know some of the people at the church!
Can I have my child baptized even if I am not yet a member?
Yes. Check the Worship section of this site for more information on Baptisms.
What if my partner and I are same-gender parents?
Congratulations! At Eastminster, we warmly welcome all families and yours is no exception. Eastminster is proudly an Affirming congregation.
Can I get married at Eastminster if I am not yet a member?
I’ve never had much to do with church. Do I have to believe anything in particular to worship with you people?
The United Church of Canada came into existence because of a desire to bring together people from diverse points of view. We describe ourselves as a united and a uniting church. At Eastminster, you will learn we have many different ways of approaching belief.
If you want a sense of the range of beliefs that can be found within the United Church of Canada, check out the Song of Faith. It is called a song because we believe faith is something to make hearts sing and spirits soar; it isn’t a burden to be imposed by some “higher-up” in the church.
How can I learn more?
To get a sense of what the United Church of Canada is all about, you can start with the United Church of Canada’s website. The Observer is the national church’s monthly news magazine which provides much of its content online.
If you have questions about life at Eastminster, feel free to email us or phone 416-463-2179 ext 100.