how we care
Baptism & Holy Communion
Can I have my child baptized? Can I be baptized? Yes and Yes. We embrace the opportunity to welcome children and adults into the Church through the Sacrament of Baptism. We believe that baptism is a sign or witness that the love of God embraces each person long before they are able to claim or name that love for themselves. Of course, it's more than just a sign or symbol - it's a sacrament, so there's more than a hint of mystery about baptism (and Holy Communion). We celebrate that mystery with joy, even without fully understanding it! Parents of children do not necessarily need to be members of the congregation, nor of The United Church of Canada, but we will certainly encourage that relationship, and there will always be opportunity before baptism for parents and/or candidates to discuss with the Minister their relationship with and participation in the life of the congregation.
I am not a United Church member. May I receive Holy Communion? Yes, please! In our "Mission Statement" we say we strive to welcome all people, and that we hope to do. When we celebrate The Sacrament of Holy Communion, we practice an 'open table' and invite worshippers of all ages and stages to share the bread and cup. People are not required to be "official" members of St. Andrew's (Westwood) or Norwood United Church to be involved in our worship and in most areas of our congregational life.
Hopefully, two words to describe our worship are "friendly” and “welcoming.” While some might ask if our services are “contemporary” or “traditional” it is our intention first and foremost that our service of worship be “faithful” - faithful to who God is and to who we are.
We love to sing, and sing we do! We sing hymns of different styles and periods, including majestic hymns accompanied by organ, to quieter meditative songs, and joyful music from different parts of the world, and in various musical styles. We mostly use Voices United - the current hymn book of The United Church of Canada, and are becoming acquainted with "More Voices" - the newer United Church songbook, which was acquired for both churches in the summer of 2017.
We are blessed with a number of singers and instrumentalists of all ages in our congregational families who contribute music for services and other events. Our two adult choirs sing anthems of varied styles, and have occasionally joined together for special events. Between our two congregations, we have on average between 15 and 25 adult singers involved weekly in our two choirs.
We draw from the deep wells of Christian tradition in worship, while striving to be inclusive (in the broadest and best sense of “inclusive”) in the language and imagery of sermons, prayers and music - always seeking to expand our spiritual horizons. On Sundays we try to engage congregation members from the very young to those of riper years in various ways in our worship and praise, and throughout the week, in witness in the world.
In the Community
Our two congregations provide space for members of the community to meet for Worship, and as gathering places for community groups and activities of many kinds. Most recently a "Sparks" programme began for girls age 5 - 7 began to meet at Norwood United (part of the Girl Guides of Canada). Each month (on the last Sunday) people of both our congregations and others in the community partner to provide supper for guests from the community at no cost - we call it a Community Supper. These suppers are held at Norwood United. Doors open at 4pm and supper is served at 4:30. We regularly have 30 to as many as 50 guests attend to enjoy a hot meal, dessert, coffee or tea, and fellowship.
Norwood United's building hosts concerts, recitals, and Ecumenical services at various times throughout the year. Our Concert Grand Piano has been played by children, local performers, teachers, students, church and community choirs and internationally acclaimed pianists - it loves to provide music for all occasions! The lower level of our facility hosts exercise programs, cooking & food preparation classes, Community Care Luncheons, all kinds of dinners, meetings, receptions, games nights and variety concerts/shows. Being easily accessible (with an elevator from the main floor) our church hall it is used by church families, neighbours and community organizations for many different functions.
In addition to work done “by the church” many individual church members are busy in the community in their own right. Many are involved in other community groups, such as the Lion’s Club, the Masons, the Norwood Fair, Minor Hockey and other sports, the Donegal Fiddlers and the nearby Westben Music Festival (to name but a few) all of whom seek to enhance the life of our community and its surroundings. A number of our members are volunteers with Community Care in a variety of capacities. Church members (of various ages/stages) were involved in a recent Habitat for Humanity "build" in Norwood, and some have helped with other Habitat builds in nearby communities.
Beyond our local community, our congregations support the national Mission and Service Fund of The United Church of Canada, which raises approximately $30 million annually to support worthy projects across Canada and abroad. Members and groups within our congregations support the Crossroads Shelter and Out of the Cold programmes in Peterborough, help to send children and youth to summer camp, and support, contribute and/or volunteer with our local Ministerial Food Bank.