We know visiting a church can be a little nerve-wracking. Why does everyone sing these songs together? What’s the point in listening to someone talk for half an hour? What should I wear? Will I stand out?
We’ll do everything we can to make you feel comfortable. We won’t ask you to stand up in the middle of a service or single you out, although some of our members will probably introduce themselves (there are some effusive, friendly people here). We hope you won’t mind that.
What do I wear?
Clothes. Please wear clothes. Other than that, wear whatever makes you feel comfortable. If you can’t imagine going to church in anything other than a suit and tie, then wear a suit and tie. If jeans and a hoodie are your style, wear that. You’ll find that everyone else here is all over the board, although you’ll be well-camouflaged if you dress casual or dressy casual.
How do I get there?
You’ll find more details on our Where and When page, but we’re located at 18 Court Street in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire. There’s a parking lot behind the church, which you can access by a driveway that’s to the right of the church (as you’re looking at it from the front), between the two white houses. Park anywhere you’d like, and come in through the double-glass doors in the middle. Someone will be at the door to direct you to the sanctuary.
If you’re walking here from downtown, our front doors facing Court Street are always open on Sunday mornings.
When should I arrive?
Our services begin at 10:00 am. Many of our members like to show up around 9:45, which gives them time to park, get inside, take their coats off, find a seat, and prepare for the service.
What should I expect during the service?
Our services usually run 65–70 minutes, and they’re designed to help you worship God and know him better. Throughout a service we’ll usually sing 3–4 hymns together, pray, listen to a sermon to help us understand the Bible and learn to live by it, hear some special, meditative music, and every now and then we like to throw a curveball and try something different.
We lean toward traditional elements, preferring hymns and liturgies for their rich, thoughtful content, although we try not to pigeonhole ourselves. You might say we’re traditional in our content, but not always in our style.
After every service many of us head downstairs to chat with one another, catch up on our weeks, and enjoy some coffee and light snacks. We hope you’ll join us for this time!
Can I bring my children or teenagers?
Yes! We take very seriously the fact that children and teenagers are part of our family, and we value them in a big way. Jesus said that whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. (Mark 10:15) We believe Jesus meant everything he said, and so it’s our responsibility to take special care of the children that are with us.
There is a nursery for infants and toddlers which is always staffed with at least two caretakers.
Children in grades K–5 join us in the first part of our worship service, until shortly before the sermon. We find that participating in “big church” helps them to better feel like a part of our church family. Fifteen or twenty minutes into the service we have a children’s story, where a church leader spends some dedicated time with the children. After the children’s story, those children up to 5th grade are welcome to head out for Junior Church, an experiential environment designed specially for children to learn about God in tangible, interactive, and fun ways! Junior church finishes as the main church service wraps up, and you can pick your child up in the fellowship hall after the service.
What about middle and high school students?
We invite all middle and high school students to join us for the duration of the worship service. We have found that setting high standards for our teenage students motivates them to think at a higher level, and several of our students contribute significantly to the life of our church family by helping to lead parts of our worship service.
What kind of music do you play?
Most of our congregational singing is led by a piano, organ, or both. Occasionally special musicians—both members of our church family and friends from outside the church—lead us in worship. Additionally, several of our members have formed an in-house gospel group, which leads us in worship through folk/bluegrass music.