First Time Visitors
At Seabold Church, we believe that no matter where you come from, what you look like, how old you might be, who you might choose to love, and in spite of any questions and doubts you may have, you are a beloved child of God. As a faith community, we respond to God’s love for us by loving God in return and loving people so the world we share might be a better one.
As a church, we are striving to figure out what it means to live a faithful life in the midst of our everyday lives. We don't just want to see what the church can do for us—we want to learn about how to deeply participate in a rich community of caring relationships and faithful service. We would love for you to join us in our quest. We embrace all into our community with abundant hospitality.
What to Expect
We know that visiting a new church for the the first time can be an awkward experience so we want to be helpful as we can in making your experience a good one. Below are answers to some of the most asked questions before coming to Seabold UMC.
What happens in worship?
We sometimes decide to change up our services a bit, because we don't like to get bored. However, many times the services look something like this:
Worship starts with a set welcome, read by our reader for the day. Then the pastor shares announcements with the congregation. These help people to stay connected to everything that is happening within the church.
We usually sing 4-5 hymns and songs throughout the service. As a congregation, we like singing with gusto, so we usually stand up. (You are always welcome to stay seated if that is more comfortable.) Because we sing out, everyone can fit in, regardless of whether or not you can carry a tune—nobody hears you individually. We sing a wide variety of music, including traditional hymns, contemporary hymns, and global music. You, of course, are welcome to not sing anything that you are not comfortable with.
We have a brief time of discussion, in which we respond to some questions in small groups. Participants are welcome to participate as little or as much as they like in this portion. During the discussion, the pastor joins the youth and children to discuss the topic with them.Later in the service, they will usually go to a separate Sunday School for their own program.
We pass the peace—which is a church-y way of saying that we greet each other and wish each other well for the day. As a visitor, you will get a lot of people coming up to you and introducing themselves, saying hello, and wanting to briefly meet you. You are not expected to roam around and seek people out. Sometimes this section can feel awkward, but remember, we just want to meet you and say hello! People may say "Peace be with you", to which the response is "And also with you."
We have Prayers of the People. During this time, we share with the congregation what events, good or bad, have been going on in our lives, and what we can pray for to support each other.
We listen to a passage or two of Scripture. It is important for us to keep connected to these words that have been passed down to us. If a reading is from the Gospels (one of the four stories about Jesus' life), the reader will often ask us to stand, a traditional sign of respect. If you choose, you are welcome to remain sitting.
We listen to a sermon. This is usually between 12-20 minutes, most often around 15 minutes. These often start from either a Biblical passage, a current event or topic, or a religious idea. The preacher then explores this to try to figure out what we, as Christians living in the 21st century, can learn from it. Sermons use accessible language, so most adults have no problem understanding the content. Sometimes, we welcome other preachers or guests from the community, so that we can learn from a variety of people.
We serve communion. During this time, we allow this ancient ritual to bring us together as a community, sharing all together in a meal. The usher goes row by row, and in turn, each row goes up to take the bread, dip it into the grape juice, and eat. You are welcome to join, even if you don't know what's going on. However, you are always welcome to not join in. (Nobody will look at you weird!) During communion, some will bring up offerings—money that they give to the church. As our guest, please do not feel the need to give us any money. Again, nobody will judge you (or even notice).
At the end of the service, we form a circle around the sanctuary, hold each others' hands, and sing a final song together.
What should I wear?
Please come as you are. Many dress casually, some more formally—you decide. We want you to feel at home.
How long is worship?
We have one 10:00 am worship service. It may last between an hour and an hour and twenty minutes. Children's Time and Sunday School are offered for children and youth each week. Also, Communion is served every week. In the United Methodist tradition, all persons are welcome to receive communion whether members or not. God’s love is for everyone.
Will there be any expectations?
No. You are our guest, and we want you to be comfortable, though the seats are not recliners. You will be greeted and welcomed. During the service the attendance pad is passed, but you can choose whether you wish to know more about us by giving a name, address, phone or email. We will respect your privacy and will not add you to our emailed newsletter until you wish to receive it. Since most people know within the first few minutes whether they might return again, it’s okay to remain anonymous as well.
During every service there is a time to worship God by giving one’s tithes and offerings. This is an act of worship for those who consider Seabold UMC their church home, allowing them to share in the church’s ministry to the community and world. As our guest, please let the service be our gift to you, and please do not feel any pressure or obligation to give.
Am I allowed to take communion?
Yes! As Methodists, we have an open communion table. Anybody at all is welcome to join in communion at our church. All Christians make different meanings out of this rite, but one important meaning is that we are sharing in a meal together as a community. And we welcome everyone into our community, no matter how similar or different you are to us!
What if I have children?
We love children at Seabold UMC. Babies and toddlers can be with their parents or in our nursery. Children and youth are encouraged to come to worship and then either stay in church or go to church school after the children’s time. At Seabold UMC, all persons are bound by our Safe Sanctuary Policy, which explicitly protects children, youth. All teachers and nursery workers have completed background checks to ensure the safety of our children and youth. Our Safe Sanctuary Policy is available here.