Questions

We realize that it can be intimidating to visit a new church for the first time. Sometimes you feel like an outsider, lost among strangers and unclear customs. You might wonder: Do I belong here? Am I really welcome? Will the people be unfriendly? Will I be conspicuous? Will it be easy to leave if I don’t enjoy it? How should I dress? Will they ask me for money? Will my kids enjoy it? We have assembled some questions and answers here to help you know us better, and have a better idea of what to expect at our churches.

Can anyone attend services at Randolph and East Pittston UMC?

Yes, absolutely, without condition or qualification! Our doors and our hearts are open to anyone who wants to know God better, or even just to share in some fellowship and companionship.

Who is in charge?

Most of us would answer that God is, but on Sunday mornings the less spiritual answer is that the Pastor and the Liturgist (lay person who assists the pastor) are generally responsible for ensuring that things run smoothly.

What happens during the Service?

Most Sunday mornings there will be about 40 people present; sometimes more, sometimes less. There will be hymns, prayers, joys and celebrations, bible readings and a sermon. The service will last about an hour. We usually stand to sing and sit to listen, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to follow. There is usually an offertory collection towards the middle of the service.

Do I have to place a donation in the collection plate?

You should not feel obligated to put any money in the plate, if you are not comfortable doing so, or if doing so would cause you hardship.  Your presence among us is truly a blessing.

Why do the churches ask for money?

Monetary gifts are used to pay the staff’s salaries, heat and maintain the buildings, fund our missions, and support our outreach efforts.

Are children allowed in?

Children are more than welcome! Details of the Sunday School activities can be found here.

What happens after the service?

Tea and coffee are served along with snacks, in the fellowship area at the rear of the East Pittston church, and in the fellowship room at Randolph, at the end of the services. We hope you’ll stay, have something to drink and eat, and chat. This is an opportunity for you to meet and get to know some of the people in the churches.

Does the Church have access for disabled people?

Both churches can be reached without the need to negotiate steps. Randolph has an accessible uni-sex restroom.  East Pittston’s new fellowship hall will be completely accessible.

What do United Methodists believe?

The short answer is that we believe that all people are loved by God, and are thus innately deserving of our love and respect. Please view the United Methodist Church website to learn about Methodist theology.

How do I know what to do, and when?

The greeters who meet you at the door will give you a program for the service, called the “bulletin”. The bulletin tells you what will be happening and in what order. An asterisk (*) next to an item means to stand up, if you are able. Bold type indicates something to be read aloud by all.

What should I wear to church?

Wear whatever makes you comfortable, within the bounds of modesty. Some people dress up, some dress casually.  Jeans are as common as suits and dresses. In summer, many people even wear shorts.

Is it true that Methodists sing a lot?

We sure do, and all voices are welcome! There will be several songs, or hymns. In every pew you will find a hymnal. The bulletin you are handed on the way in indicates which books and song numbers are being used.

How often do you celebrate Holy Communion?

At East Pittston and Randolph UMC, we celebrate Holy Communion on the first Sunday of each month. Everyone is invited to the Lord’s table when we have Holy Communion.

What is “Passing the Peace?”

During the Communion service, we are asked to stand and greet those around us. Most people shake hands or hug, and say “Peace be with you”, “God be with you”, or something similar, to welcome one another.  This can take a little while, because we’re a hug loving group!

Are there a lot of memorized sayings and songs?

No, most of the spoken responses are listed in the bulletin, except for the text of the Lord’s Prayer. We recite it together, and these are the words to the version we use.

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespasser against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”

How do I learn more? Are there Bible study groups or Sunday School classes for adults and children?

There are Sunday School classes for children from September through May, and a summer Vacation Bible School open to all children. Also, there are adult Bible study groups from about September to May, breaking for the summer.

Can we arrange a wedding or christening at the churches?

When you enquire about a special service at either of our churches, our first response is always, “Welcome, come and meet us.” You are encouraged to come to one of our services, where you should have the opportunity to meet with our Pastor. For further information please contact Pastor Gary Akeley or call at (207) 582-5188.

Can we arrange a funeral at the churches?

Our Pastor is generally available to conduct funerals. For further information please contact Pastor Gary Akeley or call at (207) 582-5188.

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