What to expect from a Sunday gathering
The SSUC community holds its primary spiritual gathering on Sundays at 10 a.m. and are welcome exactly as you are. You don’t have to look fancy for us, you don’t have to be anything but yourself. You can be anonymous or introduce yourself to whomever you wish. You won’t be introduced as “visitors” or drawn out in any way. Each person participates or not according to their own comfort. It is the community’s goal to value each person as they are.
When you come through the doors, you’ll find some people that want to welcome you. There is a welcome table where volunteers can answer questions, tell you about our programs, help you navigate the building or subscribe to our e-newsletter at the bottom of this page. You’ll find washrooms just off the foyer.
As you continue into the Large Hall, where we gather, you can pick up a “Monthly Messenger”, a newsletter of events and programs that are highlighted that month. Some of this material might be interesting to you and some might not, but it does give you an idea of the kinds of things that happen throughout the week. Make your way to the kitchen window where the coffee is ready and help yourself. Feel free to sit and sip your coffee through the gathering. The chairs are arranged in semi-circular rows. You can sit wherever you feel comfortable. There are no reserved seats, so don’t worry about taking somebody’s chair.
The gathering time lasts between 60-70 minutes and usually there’s a particular flow to the gathering time. Songs are sung, there’s often a time spent with children, some readings from various sources of wisdom, and a reflection offered. There’s no “inside” language or words that you need to know to feel a part of things – everything needed to participate can be seen on three large projection screens.
Near the end of the gathering, there will be time when various people stand and highlight some announcements…another glimpse into the life and activity of SSUC. There’s an invitation to donate to help fund SSUC’s life and work by way of a donation box at the entrance to the hall. There’s no expectation that you must put something in the box, but rather if people desire, they give what they can. The money that gets collected is used to support the work of the congregation in the community, the ministry staff, and the work of partner agencies throughout the world through the United Church Mission and Service Fund.
After the gathering time, some people grab another cup of coffee or juice and catch up with friends. On some Sundays, there are lunches sponsored by different groups. If you have the time, you’re welcome at any of these lunches.
Typically on the first Sunday of each month, we celebrate a ritual of belonging around the table. This is a part of the gathering where we recognize and celebrate the principles we try to live by sharing a symbolic meal of bread and juice. Although this is a long-celebrated custom in the Jesus tradition, for us it has become a way for us to do what all people do when they share a meal: celebrate each other and honour the importance of our connections in life. All people, whether members of SSUC or any church are welcome to participate. If people choose to participate, they come from their seats to one of the groups of servers around the table. A piece of bread is offered from a basket, which may be dipped in the cup of juice, then eaten. We love this celebration because it connects us to one another, to the earth and our common humanity.
Have small children?
Infant and child-care for small children is provided in a well equipped room adjacent to the hall. Children can be left in capable hands here, or you can stay here and play with your children while still viewing and hearing what’s happening as part of the group. Nursing mothers will find comfortable space here also.
Children from Kindergarten through approximately Grade 5 are invited to attend kidSPIRIT, an interactive and fun learning environment where kids explore values and tools for being good citizens, valuable members of community and able to make a positive difference in their world. Children usually stay with parents in the large hall until after the “Time for All Ages” partway through the gathering. At this point, our leaders will lead the children to the small hall, where a time of learning and fun dedicated to them begins. Parents are most welcome to come with their children for their or their children’s comfort. Of course, children are also welcome to stay in the gathering throughout.
For those from approximately Grade 6 through Junior and Senior High School, Youth Cafe meets during the same time period. Capable and inspiring leaders gather with them in their own youth room for conversation, learning and connection.
Features include a spacious handicap parking area with signage, easy front door drop off, power assist Entrance doors, greeters to help as needed, a no-step building, elevator to Lower Level, wheelchair-friendly washrooms, hearing assist devices, large print programs, and powerpoint large screen projection. If you need anything else to make your time at SSUC more enjoyable, we encourage you to ask.
Giving to SSUC
If you are able to give to SSUC to help further our commitment in the community, you can do so. See Donate. We recently changed our policy on passing around the traditional basket. You can also sign up for direct deposits (contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here is a short video on how to donate at an SSUC gathering-HINT: it’s easy and discrete