If you’ve never been to a Christadelphian ecclesia before, understanding what all is going on can sometimes be a bit confusing. Here’s a detailed guide that should help you to know what to expect when you visit the San Francisco Peninsula Christadelphians.
- Our current COVID-19/mask policy is the following:
Mask wearing is optional in the hall with the following exceptions: The last three rows on the left side of the hall (facing forwards) will be saved for those who prefer to wear masks. If you are seated in any of these rows, you should wear a mask at all times. Windows beside these rows should also remain open. When speaking with anyone who is wearing a mask in the hall, please ask if they would rather you wore a mask while in close proximity (within six feet) and be prepared to wear a mask for the conversation out of care and love for your brother or sister. If you are ill please stay home and join the meeting via zoom.
In other words, bring a mask, and if you want to talk to someone wearing a mask, put yours on too. If you forget, feel free to grab a disposable mask at the front entry area.
- You are welcome to park in the parking lot behind the hall, and can enter either from James Ave. or from Inner Circle. The gates should get unlocked around 9 AM.
- There are three bathrooms, two downstairs and one upstairs. All are one-person bathrooms, and you are welcome to use any of them.
- Our general order of service is as follows:
9:30 AM: Sunday School opens in the main hall (big room with all the pews you see when you come in the front entrance)
9:45 AM: Everyone breaks into separate classes for Sunday School (adult Sunday School is in the main hall)
10:25 AM: Everyone reconvenes to close Sunday School
10:30 AM-11 AM: Break between Sunday School and the main service. There will be snacks in the kitchen downstairs below the main hall, so most people tend to migrate down there.
11:00 AM: Everyone gathers upstairs, and we begin to take prayer requests. Anyone can suggest anything they think the ecclesia (congregation) should pray about, they are written down, and they will then be featured in both the opening prayer and the ecclesial newsletter.
~11:05: We have a brief devotional reading, and then sing an opening hymn. Regular hymn books are the grey books in the back of the pews, if we’re doing a PTL (Praise The Lord) song, it’ll be the blue books in the back of the pews. People usually stand for the hymn (unless physically infirm). Feel free to sing along, or just listen.
~11:10: We have the opening prayer, led by someone at the front. Remain standing after the hymn for the prayer. This prayer will feature all the prayer requests previously gathered.
~11:15: We do some Bible readings (pre-arranged readers read from the front). Usually they’re taken from our daily Bible readings (https://sfchristadelphian.org/daily-readings/).
~11:25: Another hymn. No prayer after this one, so just sit down afterwards.
~11:30-12:00: Exhortation (sermon).
~12 PM: Breaking of bread (communion). This will start with a hymn (sit down afterwards). After the hymn, the presider will say some remarks connecting the exhortation to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and then have someone come up to lead the congregation in a prayer for the bread. After that, those in covenant relationship with God (baptized Christadelphians) eat a small bit of bread in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice.
As per 1 Corinthians 11:27-32, we’re cautious about who eats bread and drinks wine in remembrance of Jesus, because it contains a rather strict warning that if you do it in an unworthy way you bring judgment down on yourself. Our usual policy is that if you’ve been baptized as a Christadelphian and believe the same things as us (as summarized at http://www.christadelphia.org/basf.php), then you understand what you’re doing and aren’t going to bring down God’s judgment on yourself. If you’re just visiting though, we would recommend for your own safety that you just use the time to watch, pray, and reflect on Jesus’ death and resurrection.
We pass around a tray with two different colored cups on it. The white/transparent cups contain normal bread, and the purple cups contain gluten-free bread. Baptized Christadelphians grab whichever cup they prefer, eat the bread in it, and throw the cup out after the service. If you aren’t a baptized Christadelphian though, you don’t have to worry about this.
We then have a prayer for the wine, and we do the same procedure where those in covenant relationship with God drink some wine to help them remember what Jesus has done for them. White/transparent cups are actual wine (usually Manischewitz), while purple cups are grape juice.
~12:15 PM: Closing hymn and prayer (remain standing after the hymn for the prayer). After the prayer, the pianist will also usually play a short meditational piece of music. Just remain silent and use the time to reflect, pray, and meditate on the service.
~12:20 PM: Announcements, including plans for the coming week, birthdays, etc.
~12:30 PM: Service finishes. Our policy is to treat visitors to lunch afterwards, so you will be asked if you have lunch plans, and if you don’t already have them, will be invited to meet at a local restaurant and have lunch with some of our members (our treat, of course!).