The greeter sets the tone for each person's entry into the church on that day. While our current greeter will always be our "senior greeter", we do need to provide her with assistance as most people arrive at the church during the last ten minutes before the service starts. If you would like to help greeting, a few tips on greeting are offered:
Remember that all people are guests of Jesus
People come to church to find meaning and purpose in their life. People have come to find healing in the midst of pain, to celebrate life's passage in times of joy, to find guidance in the midst of confusion, and to find God's presence as two or three are gathered in community. They should be welcomed as such. The tendency, of course is for us to gravitate to those we know; however, we should make a special point of welcoming those we don't.
Follow-up with newcomers
to help in connecting with newcomers, greeters invite newcomers to sign the guest book in the lobby. When that occurs, the pastor will mail a welcome package and follow up with them to help enable the church to better serve their needs. This is critical because if someone isn't warmly greeted they may not feel welcome, and therefore not come back. We want to make our best attempt to connect with them.
Greeters are generally listed in the bulletin and are asked to sign up for the week they would like to be a welcoming presence. Informal greeters also greet others around them in the pew. When they see someone they don't know, they identify themselves. You can be helpful by pointing out where the washrooms are or if the newcomers have children, you might mention information about nursery care and Sunday school, etc. A friendly face makes for the good beginnings of a friendly church.
There is more on than preaching at Deer Lake! If preaching is understood as opening ourselves to allow God's word to flow through our words, then everyone who has read scripture during worship has preached. We are truly blessed to have had a variety of people of different ages and genders offer God's word to our worship experience as they read scripture on a Sunday morning. While this is an awesome responsibility, there are a few pointers that may be helpful in performing this task.
Everyone is invited to read
As an inclusive community, we include all who feel led to express their faith through the ministry of reading. A sign-up sheet in the fellowship hall is available to everyone to choose a sunday wen they would like to read. One week prior to their Sunday, a worship package will be available on the administrator's desk that will include the readings for the next week's service. This packet is printed out in a larger font than a Bible to help aid the reader. If you haven't read at Deer Lake United Church yet, please consider offering your voice to our worship service.
Pray for God's voice to flow through yours. Pray that your faith might flow through the reading. You might pray that the "words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts might be acceptable to you. O Lord, my rock and my redeemer" (Psalm 19).
Never pause at the opening of quotation marks
Whenever you are reading scripture and come to a comma that is followed by quotation marks, do not pause. While this might go against your every instinct, continue reading. A pause throws the listener's attention back to the word immediately preceding it and prohibits them from listening to the quote.
Do not always respect the comma
Generally, punctuation marks should not make your phrasing directions for you. While punctuation directs the eye to meaning, it only rarely gives good advice as to how the passage should be read. It requires careful phrasing in your reading to direct the listener's ear to best understand what is being said.
Never pause before a vocative
A common problem in pausing mistranslates the meaning of a sentence. For example, "Great is thy faithfulness (pause) O God my maker." A better reading of this would be without a pause. "Great is thy faithfulness O God my maker." The later reading makes it clear that the praise is directed to God.
Phrasing makes a meaning (A few examples)
- "So they went with haste and found Mary and joseph and the child lying in a manger." Who was actually in the feeding through? A pause after "Joseph" and a pause after "child" squeezes them all into the manger.
- "I Never said she stole my purse." has two different meanings according to whether the "I" or the "never" is the emphasis.
With the Christian Reformation of the 16th Century, the Reformed Church was birthed and the validation of people's own prayers to God was acknowledged. suddenly it was acknowledged that people could pray! Deer Lake has the tradition of laypeople offering the prayers during the service, which reminds us of these historical roots. Usually, the person who reads scripture will also offer the prayers of the people as well. A few considerations beyond those offered earlier under "Reading Scripture" may be helpful.
Be comfortable with silence
After the invitation to begin the prayer, wait for a few seconds until the community has been able to physically settle into a time of prayer. Take appropriate pauses during the prayer being offered so that God might be part of the prayer. Our silences in the prayer are as important as the words we speak. don't be in a rush to finish the prayer.
Be yourself in the prayer
If you feel joy in part of the prayer being offered, smile while you are reading that part of prayer. Your smile will be heard in your voice. If you feel sadness or lament or anger in other parts let that be a part of the prayer as well. As you pray on behalf of the community, allow your authentic emotions to be felt.
Deer Lake includes the prayers of concern and joy in the prayers of the people. A prayer table is located in the lobby where everyone is welcomed to record their particular prayer request so that it may be offered. for pastoral follow up,there is an opportunity to indicate if you would like some support from either the pastor or a member of the pastoral care team.
A team who write the Prayers of the People began with one person and has now grown to over a dozen members. They have met on several occasions for the purpose of growing and supporting one another in this important ministry. Each member is assigned approximately one of the 12 upcoming Sundays. To help in constructing the prayer, they are given an outline of the theme of the service and the specific scripture readings to be used, as well as the countries we include in the ecumenical prayer cycle. Writers agree to submit their prayer at least two weeks prior to the service. To free people up to offer their unencumbered expression of faith in prayer, the writer's name is not announced and the person offering the prayer during worship cannot be the writer. A starter package is available for new people who feel called to take this on. This group is coordinated By Dana and Bill. Why not consider writing a prayer for an upcoming service?
Liturgical arts are a visual way we express our awe for the holy. Deer Lake has always taken pride in its work with the liturgical arts. An incredible selection of seasonal banners and pulpit covers have been prayerfully constructed along with the "Seed and the Sower" wall hanging that was lovingly made by the hands of the late Wenda and (her humble helper) Carol and Marlene. They are always looking for people who would like to help with or to take on projects big or small. Maybe that person might be you?
The donation of flowers to the worship service can be a very powerful way to enhance the worship experience for everyone who gathers. They also can be a special way to remember a person or event. There is a sign-up sheet posted in the fellowship hall to indicate a Sunday you with to provide flowers. Flowers left behind do not go to waste but are delivered by the pastor to people who might be ill or in need of some special care. Why not sign up for an upcoming Sunday?