St. Thomas' Episcopal Church
Sunday, May 31, 2020
Bethel, Connecticut
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First-Time Visitor FAQ

What should I wear?
Some clothes.  Really.  We're not fussy about it. 
What's the best door to use?
If you're coming to our 8 a.m. Sunday service, or if you're coming to the office, it's best to use the glass doors facing Greenwood Avenue.  If you're coming to the 10 a.m. Sunday service, you can use either the glass doors or the large red doors.  There's a staird-free entrance in the rear of the church.
What are the services like?
September though June, Sunday services are at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.  During July and August, there is just one service, at 9 a.m.
The 8 a.m. service takes place in our chapel, right across from the glass doors on Greenwood Avenue.  This service is shorter, with a smaller congregation and no singing.  The 10 a.m. service takes place in our church and includes singing by the choir and the congregation.  Sunday School meets during the 10 a.m. service. 
Nearly all our services include Holy Communion, which is open to all baptized Christians.
What do you have for kids during worship?
During 10 a.m worship, parents with infants and young children are invited, but not at all required, to sit in one of the family pews, which provide extra "wiggle room," rugs and children's Bibles.  The ushers are happy to provide crayons and paper  There is a nursery where parents can soothe their own children who need a break.  The ladies room has a changing table. 
Once a month during the school year, typically on the third Sunday, children and youth help lead the 10 a.m. service, and the sermon is geared toward them.
Starting at preschool age, children may leave church after the "hymn of praise" and be escorted to Sunday school.  They return in time for Holy Communion.  Parents are welcome to accompany their children to help them acclimate.  The ushers can answer any questions.
Do I have to give money?
As a guest, you're not expected to give money.  We do appreciate it if you turn in a completed guest card and will donate $5 to one of the local charities listed on the card as a thank-you. 
If you decide to join St. Thomas', whatever financial contribution feels right to you will be received gratefully. 
What about Holy Communion?
Holy Communion is open to all the baptized, including toddlers.  If you are unable to manage the stairs leading to the communion rail, notify an usher. The bread and wine will be brought to your pew.

Anything else I should know?
St. Thomas' has a couple of customs that might be new to you: thank-offerings and mission crosses.
Thank-offerings can be made for a birthday, an anniversary, a vacation, favorable medical test results, a safe homecoming, or any other occasion for gratitude.  If you'd like to make a thank-offering, notify the prayer leader (whom you'll recognize by the clip-board he or she is carrying) before the service starts. 
Mission crosses are a way St. Thomas' carries God's love into the community.  On your way back to your pew from the communion rail, you will pass a glass jar full of small wooden crosses.  Feel free to take one or more crosses to share with family and friends as a reminder of God's care.  Near the end of the service, the priest will bless the crosses. 
We'd be honored to share refreshments and conversation with you in our parish hall after worship.