This is what you can expect on a Sunday morning at Oasis Church Waterloo:
We start at 11am (well, we try to start at 11am – often we’re a few minutes late!), and the service leader welcomes everyone before we sing some songs. The song words will appear on the screens and hopefully the tunes should be easy to pick up, but if you don’t want to join in, feel totally free. Most people stand while we sing, but you’re free to stay seated!
After the songs there’s a section for ‘Community News’, where we share some interesting things that have happened in the life of the church this week, or some opportunities for people to get involved with activities or projects that we run.
Our kids and young people then leave us to go to their own groups – more info on that elsewhere in the welcome pack – and then there’s a short time for prayer. This takes a few different forms; sometimes silent reflection, sometimes the service leader will pray and sometimes there’s a repeated phrase for the congregation to join in with. This is a chance to be still, recognise God’s presence and respond to that in some way.
After this we’ll often sing one more song, then someone will read to us from the Bible, and then someone will speak to us for usually around 25 minutes. This could be about anything from a Bible passage to a song, a Biblical character or something that’s recently been in the news. The aim of this is to prompt our thinking, to start discussion and help us to become the best possible version of ourselves, by encouraging us to follow the example of Jesus.
On the first Sunday of each month we usually celebrate communion together. This is where we eat some bread and drink some cranberry juice (which is meant to represent wine!) as a symbolic way of remembering Jesus’s death and resurrection. Also, community is for everyone: we believe that everyone is loved and accepted by Jesus, and so everyone’s invited to join in, even if it’s your first time in a church. However, if you don’t want to take communion, feel free to stay in your seat – that’s totally fine.
Usually what happens is that the bread and juice is at the front of the auditorium, and the person who’s leading the service will invite you to come forward, rip off a small bit of bread, pick up a small cup of juice, eat and drink, then go back to your seat. If you’re still unsure what to do, just follow the person in front of you!
Finally, we’ll end with one more song, where we take the offering. This is your opportunity to give to the work of the church, which helps us to run our many community projects – a Foodbank, debt advice, youth work and much more – but there’s no obligation to give, so feel free to let the buckets pass by.
And that’s it! The service usually lasts around an hour-and-a-half, and people usually stick around to chat over a cup of tea/coffee and a biscuit, so if you’d like to speak further about why we do all these things, grab hold of anyone you’ve seen at the front of the service, or anyone who’s wearing a lanyard.