Frequently Asked Questions

When are services?

Services are 11:00am on Sundays from September to May and from 10:00am from June to August. The service is about one hour long.

In the summer Grace has a vacation period of about 5 weeks. At that time St. James United provides pastoral care and the congregation of Grace is invited to join them in worship at 10:00 at the corner of Portland and Prince Albert Streets.

What should I wear?

People who attend at Grace wear a whole range of styles of clothing from suits and dresses to jeans.
We do ask however, that you don’t wear scented products as we have members of our congregation allergic to scent.

Do I have to sit in a specific place?

No, really only the Choir and the minister have assigned seats. Some people may have their favourite spots but unless there is a reserved sign on it, all seats are available for use. We have pews on both the main floor and the balcony (stairs at the Oehterloney Street door and near the bathroom (short hallway off the Upper Hall). There are some chairs at the back for people who find it hard to sit in the pews, these tend to be quite popular.

What about standing, sitting and kneeling?

At Grace we have a little asterisk (*) in the bulletin to indicate when you stand. The quick rule of thumb is when the Minister comes in and usually for the hymns that the congregation sings, and the Creed and for the Psalm (responsive reading during Bible readings) when there is one  that day. If there is something special that requires standing the Minister usually announces it. If you find standing hard, please remain seated. At Grace we sit to listen (sermon, readings, special music that someone plays and sings) and we don’t kneel at Grace. If you find it confusing, just keep an eye on someone near you and follow what they do.

How do I know what is going on?

There is a bulletin, which is like a program that is handed out by a greeter every morning. When you open it up the first one to three pages have the order of service listed. The titles of what are happening are in bold. When it is the congregation’s turn to read or speak, the text is usually bolded. If the Minister and congregation say something together usually you see “(in unison)” after the title. If you need large text bulletins, there are some on the information stand at the back of the church. They are kept to the upper right of the visitors’ book.

Do people say the prayers?

Sometimes. Look for the bold in the text after a prayer is listed or look for (in unison). We all say the Lord’s Prayer together. If you don’t know the words (or want to check the version- we say it with the extra two lines on the end (For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen) it is found in Voices United (red book) number 921 (top of page). Often the Minister will say something like “we will pray in the words that Jesus taught us.”

How do you do the Psalms (responsive reading during Bible readings) here?

The Psalm is found in Voices United (red book). Look for the page number the upper part of the page. The “R” for refrain is a line of song that we sing . At the be the Refrain is sung twice (mostly it is the Choir that  does it the first time) then the reading starts. You read the part in bold. When the “R” is reached we all sing the refrain.

Is it okay to laugh in Church?

Yes, if something is funny, laugh. The Minister feels better when we laugh at his jokes. It is okay to cry too. Sometimes we hear things that make us feel sad or we are remembering a sad event. It is okay to laugh or cry.

Is it okay to clap in Church?

Church is changing and people will clap after the Children’s choir sings or the band has played. Sometimes the minister invites us to welcome the “newly confirmed” or “newly baptized” and we clap then. Sometimes we clap while singing.

Do I have to sing at Church?

No you don’t have to. You may feel more comfortable to be standing and have a hymn book open but you don’t have to sing. Sometimes when we are learning a new song, our Choir Director will help teach it to us and make us sing it again.

If I have to leave for something, is it okay?

Yes, someone may check to see that you are feeling okay but if you have to go out because you need to go to the washroom, you are coughing and want a drink or for some other reason, please do. If you are feeling seriously ill, please get the Minister’s attention.

Where is the nearest washroom?

If you are facing the back of the Church, go through the left door (King Street side), pass the King Street entrance, through the back part of the upper hall to a little hall off it and the washroom is to the left. There are signs.
If you need a drink the kitchen is to the left of the little hall off the back of the Upper Hall.

If I have a baby what do I do?

You can either keep the baby in Church with you or we have a nursery that is downstairs. There is a rocker at the back of the Church that you can use or if you want you can walk with the baby at the space at the back of the Church.

Young children can be taken down to the nursery 5 or 10 minutes before the start of the service or anytime during Church. Your baby can either be left with the volunteer there or you can stay with your child. There is alive video feed of the service in the nursery.

Do you have children’s programs?

Yes, from age 3 to Grade 12. We have Sunday School for children age 3 to Grade 6. The program is a rotation model - the same story is explored a variety of ways for a few weeks. The children are usually in Church for the start of the Service and leave for Sunday School after the Children’s story. The Sunday School Co-ordinator is Alisa Pothier. If you wish you can go down and stay with your child. Sunday School is usually downstairs and the children come upstairs to the Upper Hall after they are ished with their program.

For youth from Grade 7 to Grade 12, there is a Youth class. They go out after the Children’s story. They do a variety of things to explore the bible and questions of faith, such as improv or discussions on contemporary music and film. There is also a Youth Group meeting on the second Thursday of the month for supper (usually pizza), a short informal worship and an activity.

Where or what is the sanctuary?

The sanctuary is the place that we gather for the formal worship service. It is place with the pews (the fastened down benches). It has the pulpit at the front (the lectern at the front that the Minister usually speaks from). 

Where is the Upper Hall?

This is the big room that shares a wall (that drops down) with the sanctuary. If you come in the Church using the entrance on King Street that is near the bus stop you go right in the entry way fer the Upper Hall and left for the sanctuary.

Where is the Meeting Room? This room is off the Upper Hall — last door on the left hand side (farthest away from hallway with bathroom off it).

Where is the Lower Hall?

It is directly underneath the sanctuary. If you are inside the church you can get to it by using the stairs by the King Street entrance door (back of the Church, turn towards King Street, go through double doors, down few steps turn a sharp left and there is another door which you can go through and down the steps to the Lower Hall. There is also a set of stairs through the door to the right of the pulpit or through the door at the back left of the Upper Hall. From the outside there is a set of stairs outside off King Street.

Where is the Minister’s Office?

If you are in the sanctuary, his is through the door that is near the drum set and directly in front of you.

Where is the Church Office?

Go in the King Street entrance, up the first couple of stairs and make a sharp right.

When are Office hours?

The office hours are Tuesday to Friday 9am to noon. The phone number is 466-3329. You are welcome to drop in. Please use the main doors on King Street. If they are not unlocked use the door bell which is to the right of the door.

You seem to have a lot of doors here. Which ones do I use for what?

For Sunday Worship the door near the sign on Ochterloney and the double doors on King Street are the ones we use. The doors at Ochterloney are looked as the service begins for safety reasons but the doors on King Street remain open.

For events through the week which are in the Upper Hall or the Meeting Room use the double doors on King Street (if they seem locked or hard to open there is a doorbell to the right). For events in the Lower Hall use the door at the bottom of the stairs off King Street.

If there is a meeting in the Minister’s Office there is a door on Ochterloney (near the Spa) which may be unlocked for occasion. If you set up an appointment with the minister just ask which door would be the one to use.
See the question below about accessibility if you need a ramp, etc.

Does the Church have a website?

Yes, it is www.gracedartmouth.ca.

How accessible is the Church?

There is a wheelchair entrance by the driveway. Unfortunately it does not have a doorbell on it and since this door has a coded entry it remains locked from the outside (it can easily be opened from the inside). If we know when someone needs to use it we can have someone open it or someone could go through the main doors and open it. On the main floor we have a wheelchair accessible washroom. There are no steps into the main area of the sanctuary or the upper hall. If you are using a wheelchair and attending the service, it is probably best to be at the back where the chairs are. The floor is slanted towards the front and the aisles have to remain free.

What is a sacrament?

A sacrament is a formal religious act or ceremony that is sacred as a sign of a spiritual reality. In the United Church we celebrate two sacraments: communion and baptism.

What is communion?

This is sometimes called the Eucharist or the Commemoration of the Lord’s Supper. It is symbolic of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made that establishes a new relationship between God and God’s people. It is a remembrance of the Last Supper when Jesus took bread and wine and blessed them and said to his disciples that these were his body (bread) and blood (wine).

Do you use wine for communion? 

No, we use grape juice.

I am not confirmed, can I still take communion?

Yes. All we ask is that you love God.

I belong to another denomination, can I still take communion? 

Yes, we believe that there is an “Open Table”. Communion is not open only to those who attend the United Church but to all those who love God.

Can my child take communion? 

At Grace, our children take communion. We leave it up to the parent(s) to decide if a child is ready to take communion.

I am allergic to wheat; will this be a problem for communion? 

Gluten-free bread is provided during communion. The gluten-free bread is either in a paper cup or glass dish to separate it from other bread.

Do we come up to the front to take communion?

Grace does communion in two different styles. The traditional style has the bread and the grape juice delivered to people in their
seats. The people wait to eat or drink together. The “Methodist” style has people come to the front and pick up bread and grape juice from the servers and consume it there. If you cannot move easily to the front, the bread and juice Will be delivered to you at your seat.

I would like to get my child or myself baptized, what should I do?

Please speak to Stephen Fram, our Minister. He will want to meet with you.

I would like to get married, what should I do?

Please speak to Stephen Fram, our Minister. Grace likes couple to make a commitment to attend at least three church services before the wedding and participate in pre-marriage counseling. At least one person of the couple should be baptized.

Do you marry same sex couples?

Grace will marry same sex couples. The wedding policy and expectations for the couple are the same as for opposite sex couples

If I would like a visit from the Minister what should I do?

You can either call the Church (466-3329) or fill out the small folder with the picture of Grace on front that is at the end of each pew. Take one of those; fill it out and place it into the collection plate.

If I would like to participate in the service what should I do? 

If you would like to read, contact the Chair of the Worship Committee (see list of contacts or leave a message at the Church Office - 466 -3329). If you would like to join the choir or offer the gift of music, contact Malcolm Bradley, our organist and choir director, (ask at Church, leave a message). For Godapoolza, our contemporary music group, contact Brian Curtis. If you would like to participate in drama, come out at 10am on the first or third Sundays of the month.

I don’t have any money to put in the collection plate, is that okay?

Yes, God understands. You can just pass the collection plate to the next person, or if you are the only one in your row just hand back the plate to the person who gave it to you and shake your head. If you want there is a little card at the stand at the back of the church (to the left and above the Visitors’ Book) which you can take to put into the collection plate.

I have money to put into the collection plate, how much should I put in?

That is always a hard question to answer. What people put in varies according to their circumstances. Please consider that it takes about $200,000 to pay staff, heat, lights, run our programs and help in our community here and the world.

I would like a receipt for the money I put in, what should I do? 

Usually in the back/front cover of Voices United (red hymn book), there is an envelope that you can use to put money in for collection. You can write your name and address on the envelope, and this will be used to mail you a tax receipt. Tax receipts are usually generated early in the year, so you will have yours for income tax time.

I come on a regular basis. Should I get envelopes or something for offering?

We have two options.

  1. You can ask for envelopes (by calling the or by filling in the small folder at the end of the pew and placing it in the collection plate) and a set will be provided. Money or cheques made out to “Grace United” can be put on the envelope. Please indicated how you would like the money divided to local church expenses, to the National Church Mission and Service Fund and/or for the building Fund. If you have other special donations that can be written in Other.
     
  2. The other option is PAR — Pre-authorized remittance (giving). Arrangements can be made to have a certain amount withdrawn from your bank account every month. If circumstances change, you can change the amount. If you arrange to use PAR, but feel uncomfortable not putting something in the collection plate on Sunday, we offer Pre-Authorized Remittance cards for your use. These are found in a little box on the stand at the back of the church (to the left and above the Visitors’ Book). You can take one of those and put it into the collection plate. PAR helps the church manage its budget as your offering comes in every month. To go on PAR , there is information on the small folder with the picture of Grace in the front that is at the end of each pew. Take one of those, fill it out and place it into the collection plate. There is also information about PAR at the information stand at the back of the sanctuary.