Whether you are visiting or checking us out as a potential church home, we want you to feel comfortable. Here are a few things we think will help, though we hope you will take the time to explore our website to learn more about us. You can also check out our Facebook page: GraceChurchOxford. Be sure to "Like" us!
Please let us know if you have any other questions. You can call church at 508.987.1004. We hope you leave a message if you get voice mail. We will call you back as soon as we can. You can also email Rev. Paula+ at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will I find it?
We are on Main Street in Oxford, which also is known as Route 12. This section of Main Street is "mixed use" residential and business. We are a stone church tucked between two big white houses, across from the Coonan Insurance Agency. Look for the "Zadig House" sign on the house to the left or the "Grace Preschool" sign in the front yard.
Where should I park?
We have limited off-street parking, though there is plenty of free parking along both sides of Main Street. If you have difficulties walking, please feel free to park in the driveway to the right of the church. We share this with our neighbors, so please park on the side near the ramp. On weekends additional off-street parking is available at Coonan Insurance and Aspire Dance Studio, thanks to the generosity of our neighbors.
Will I know where to enter?
There are two entrances on Main Street: one is through the big brown doors in the center of the building. The other is through the glass doors to the right of the front. Using either entrance is fine. The nave (church-speak for the worship space) is on the left as you are facing the building, a matter of a several feet from either entrance.
Is Grace Church accessible?
If you are unable to navigate a couple of stairs, please feel free to use the ramp on the right of the building. That will bring you into the fellowship hall. If you look opposite the kitchen, you will see the doors to the front foyer, which will take you to the nave. Once inside, there are no stairs.
Are there restrooms? How about a changing table?
We have two restrooms, both of them off the fellowship hall. You can find them on the hallway that is directly ahead of you if you enter the fellowship hall through the double (and only) doors. There is a changing table in the restroom at the end of the hallway. The restrooms are accessible.
What's the first thing I do?
When you enter the nave (the worship space), you should be greeted by one or two parishioners, who will give you a copy of the worship bulletin. This bulletin explains the order of the service and the hymns that we will sing (on Sundays and some other special occasions).
Where should I sit?
We would like you sit wherever you feel most comfortable. We don't have "assigned" seating, so don't worry about that. On some special occasions, such as Christmas Eve and Easter, the choir sometimes has a few reserved pews, but we'll post signs if that's the case. We'll do that if there is reserved seating for any reason.
Are kids welcome?
We love kids! We love them in worship and we want them to be as involved as they can and want to be. Most Sundays, we have children helping bring the bread and wine to the altar, with the collection plates, and, sometimes, with special blessings. In the back of the church, on the side near the door, we have a special children's area, with stuffed animals, coloring supplies, and books. Kids are welcome to sit there or in the pew.
We know it can be hard to sit still and be perfectly quiet, and we don't expect that of anyone, young or not-so-young. If your child prefers to see and hear better, please sit closer to the front. Know, too, that it is okay to leave for a few minutes to take a toddler or young child to the restroom, or to take some time to settle down if needed. There is a sitting area in the foyer, though we hope you and your kids do not feel unwelcome in church.
What if I'm not sure what to do?
No one is sure 100% of the time, which is one of the reasons we use books and a bulletin. You'll have the bulletin, which will tell you where to look in the two books we use: The Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal 1982. Both books are in the book rack in the pew.
You may notice people making the sign of the cross, bowing their heads, perhaps genuflecting (bowing down on one knee) as they enter the church. You may notice people dipping their fingers into the small font near the entrance before making the sign of the cross. All of these are ways of showing our reverence for God. You are invited to show your reverence in the ways that are comfortable and meaningful to you, as a way of bringing you deeper into the heart of God.
Am I expected to give money? What if I don't have an envelope?
No one is required to make an offering, though everyone is welcome to do so, with or without an envelope. Anything you give helps to fund the ministries of the parish. It is okay to give cash or with a check. If you give with a check, we will send you an acknowledgement letter. Beginning in early 2018, you will be able to give electronically through tithe.ly.
Who receives Communion?
At Grace Church ALL are welcome to God's Table. We offer Communion in two forms: bread and wine. We have gluten-free bread and non-alcoholic wine available for those who need or prefer them. You simply let us know when you are at the altar rail. It is okay to take just the bread.
At Grace, most people kneel to receive Communion, though those who come to the middle, where there is no rail, usually stand. We receive the bread in our cupped hands and then either dip the bread into the wine, or gently help guide the chalice to your lips for a sip of the wine.
If you would rather a blessing, that's fine, too. Simply cross your arms over your chest and the priest will be happy to bless you.
If you are unable to walk to the altar rail, please let us know and we will bring it to you. You can tell the greeter at the start of the service or the adult who is collecting the offering. They will let the priest know.
We know that parents often wonder if their child is old enough to receive Communion. Although we defer to the parents' decision, the answer to the question: "Is my child old enough or ready to receive Communion?" is a resounding, "Yes!" We are happy to talk to your child (or anyone) about Communion, but it isn't necessary to take a class to learn to do it. Communion is grace - a gift from God, freely given and undeserved.
What happens after Communion?
We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions with personal blessings. We offer personal prayers for healing and challenging times. Before we take it to the Food Shelf, we bless the food we have collected. Even if you are visiting or this is your first time with us, you are welcome to come forward for a special blessing.
After the blessings, we have announcements, before we are sent out into the world.
Are guests welcome at Coffee Hour?
We have Coffee Hour on Sundays after the 10:30 service. It's not fancy. Coffee, juice, snacks. ALL are welcome. This is a great time for us to begin to get to know each other.