What to Expect (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions people have when they visit St. Paul’s United Church (SPUC).  We hope you find them helpful.  If you have a question that you don’t see answered below, please give us a call at 905-683-4740 or drop us an email at office@stpaulsajax.org.

We look forward to welcoming you into our church community.

What door should I use when I visit SPUC

When you visit SPUC on a Sunday you have two ways of accessing the building – through the main doors which face onto Kings Crescent or through the west doors which face onto the parking lot.  At present the south doors which face onto the exit driveway are designated for emergency use only.  Generally people park in the west parking lot and walk down the north side of the building to the main doors.

Please use the west doors if you need to access the lift.

On weekdays please ring the doorbell at the west doors.  Staff will buzz you in as appropriate.

Can I move throughout SPUC in a wheelchair or assistive mobility device?

Once you’ve entered SPUC through the west doors you will have access to the lift which will take you to all floors in the building. On a Sunday just ring the bell at the lift and an usher will arrive to assist you.   During the week use the speaker on the video-monitored doorbell to let staff know you need assistance.  There is also a wheel chair accessible bathroom on the main floor. Currently there are no automatic doors however greeters and ushers are always available for assistance.

How long is the Sunday service?

Regular Sunday services are held in the sanctuary and begin at 10:30 am, usually taking about 60 to 75 minutes from start to finish.  In the summer, Sunday services start at 10:00 am in the basement and are usually about 45 minutes in length.  During the Christmas season its been a SPUC tradition for the congregation to arrive about 10 minutes before the regular service starts to join in on a carol sing.

Am I going to be asked to do anything when I attend a service?

There are no expectations when you attend a service.  However we’d like you to know that you are invited to participate as much or as little as you feel comfortable.

What languages are spoken in the service and in the congregation?

Services are offered in English.

Is it a formal or informal service?

The services at SPUC are a mixture of traditional and progressive worship presented with music, warmth and a sense of community.

Who leads the services?

The Minister is the congregation’s spiritual leader and helps people to connect their faith to their daily life through her pastoral care, teaching and preaching.   With the support of the Director of Music, members of the congregation and other Licensed Lay Worship Leaders, the Minister ensures that the congregation is able to live out SPUC’s mission of gathering to experience, show and share the difference God’s love in Christ makes in our lives.

What should I wear?

There is no dress code at SPUC. You’ll see people who dress in their Sunday best, people who dress in blue jeans and t-shirts and everything in between.

How will I know what to do during the service?

When you come to a service at SPUC you will be greeted by friendly folks who will offer you a Bulletin which contains the outline for the entire service so that you can follow along. We also project the outline on three large video screens inside the sanctuary and the Minister will offer prompts along the way when the congregation is invited to stand, to sit, to read out loud or to join in a hymn.  Please don’t hesitate to ask the greeters or anyone sitting beside you if you are unsure about anything.  We are aware that visitors and newcomers don’t always know the routine so please don’t worry about not doing something right…you are welcome here just as you are. Everyone is happy to help.

What’s the music like?

SPUC is blessed with an outstanding Director of Music who, in partnership with a talented Senior Choir and a community of instrumental and vocal soloists, presents a diverse program of music to support Sunday services and special events.  Traditional and newer hymns, carols and themed cantatas are just some of the musical offerings, which can be accompanied by piano, organ, flute, harp and even steel drums depending on the selection.  The congregation is sometimes invited to participate and new choir members are always welcome.  To follow along with the music just take a look at the Bulletin or consult the video screen.  Hymn titles are accompanied by a number and acronym, i.e. MV 14 Where Two or Three Are Gathered is the 14th hymn in the soft covered book called More Voices. The other book used is VU, Voices United.  The congregation is usually invited to stand as they are able to sing.

Is there a children’s program?

Yes.  Our Sunday School program is available during the worship service every other week from September to June.   Children begin with their family in the sanctuary and will be invited to proceed with the Sunday School teacher to the children’s program after ‘Children’s Time’, approximately 10 to 15 minutes into the service.

What do I do when the service is over?

At the end of the service there is a blessing, given by the Minister, and then the Minister will walk down the centre aisle followed by the choir while the Director of Music plays a musical postlude. Once the postlude is completed everyone is invited to share coffee, tea, goodies and conversation in the Gathering Place which is located in the church basement and can be reached via the lift or by the stairs located in the main, south and west entrances.

Do you have special services?

Communion is celebrated about once a month and there are special services for Christmas and Easter.  Baptisms occur throughout the year, during regular Sunday morning services on the third Sunday of the month, and are arranged by the families and the Minister. We also host weddings, funerals and memorials.

How is St. Paul’s United Church funded?

Individual United churches receive no funding from the United Church of Canada. Each church is responsible for the funding of all operations, activities and outreach projects. All money comes from Offerings, fundraising events and or bequests. These monies pay for building maintenance (repairs, upgrades), staff salaries, worship and Sunday school supplies plus funds for all outreach projects.  Offerings collected during a worship service are not fees or dues given out of obligation. They are gifts of thanksgiving from the heart.

How do I make an offering? What is PAR?

During the Offering part of a worship service, ushers will come down the aisles and pass along a collection plate.  You are invited to place an offering in the plate and then pass the plate along to the next person.  It’s perfectly okay to pass the plate along without putting in an offering but if you do choose to make an offering it can be by cash or cheque.  If you put your name and address on the offering envelope found in front of you when you are sitting in the pew, then a receipt will be mailed to you for income tax purposes.

Members of the church usually make weekly offerings by cash, cheque or by PAR (which stands for Pre Authorized Remittance from a bank account).  Please call the Church Office to be connected to the Envelope Steward to learn more about PAR or to order Offering envelopes.

How can I arrange to have a conversation with the minister?

There are several ways to do this. Our minister’s email address is revcordelia@stpaulsajax.org or you can call the office (905) 683-4740 and request an appointment.  You can also speak to her in person on Sunday morning, after the service.