WHAT TO EXPECT

We know visiting a new church can be a bit daunting.

Whether you've been going to church for a long time or are completely new to it you are welcome at The Gathering. Below is a guide to an average Sunday evening service so that you know just what to expect when you visit, however if you'd like more information or just to chat to someone before coming along please get in touch with us here.

Where we meet


The Gathering meets in the City URC in Windsor Place, Cardiff. If you’re unsure of where this is you can search for “City URC Cardiff” on Google maps or get in touch with us via our contact page and we can provide directions.

City URC is a church where lots of different groups meet, The Gathering is one of them and while a few people from the URC do come to The Gathering we are not a part of the URC itself. The Gathering is a multi denominational church.




When to arrive


We meet in person (and on Zoom) at 7pm on Sunday evenings. When you arrive at the URC the two main glass doors should be open (they may be locked if you arrive early) just give them a push/pull.

Services usually start at about 7:15pm. Until then we usually chat informally, grab a cup of tea or coffee and get settled.




Where to go


The Gathering meets upstairs in City URC.

As you enter the building head to the right and climb up to the top of the stairs - there is a stair lift available.

Follow the corridor around to the left and go through the brown wooden door. You will see a hallway with the main church sanctuary on the left and a room with a glass front on the right.

The glass fronted room is where The Gathering meets, there will propbably be people inside.




Settling in


The Gathering maintains a relaxed atmosphere, when you come in you are free to sit wherever you’d like to. Just pop your coat/ bag or anything else with you on your chair. If you need to use the toilet at any point during our evening service you’ll find a disabled loo and a mens’ loo upstairs and a ladies’ at the bottom of the stairs. You are welcome to use which ever toilet you feel comfortable using and you’re welcome to go at any time.




The leaders


The Gathering leaders usually wear a blue Gathering top so that they are easily identifiable. They are usually found in front of the laptop and large projector screen at the beginning of The Gathering service.

If you are new and unsure you can go up to one of the leaders and tell them you are new and they will help to make you feel more comfortable. The Gathering is a friendly place though and anyone will be happy to talk to you and help you find a seat. (please be aware of social distancing).
The Gathering leaders stand together in a group in front of a grey brick wall. The leaders are all wearing blue tops with The Gathering logo embroidered on the left hand side and white pronoun badges on the left hand side. All of the leaders are, smiling at the camera.




When the session starts


When we are about to start the leader for that session (this person changes each week) will say hello and might introduce the topic for that evening.

We will then enter into a time of worship and prayer - more on that below.




Worship and prayer


This time can feel a little strange and intimidating if you are new, but there is no need to worry.

You are free to sit quietly or to join in as much as you would like.

Usually the leader for the day will say a prayer and then we will have two worship songs.

The words for the songs will be displayed on the projector screen (please let us know if you would prefer to have the words in a different format) if you would like to sing along, otherwise you are welcome to just sit and listen. There’s no right or wrong way to do this.

Some people like to stand up when they're singing and some prefer to stay seated, this is a personal choice and you are free to do either.

If you would like to sing along, we ask that you please wear a mask if you are able to.




Discussions


After prayer and worship we often go into a time of discussion, this involves the leader introducing a topic, we might have some Bible readings and then we might divide into smaller groups to discuss what we’ve read depending on the size of the group on that day.

At The Gathering we usually read from the NIV translation of the Bible but feel free to read from the translation you prefer - don't worry if you don't have a Bible or have never read from one before, the reading will be displayed on the projector screen.

Just like with prayer and worship everyone at The Gathering is free to be as involved in discussions as little or as much as they are comfortable with.
We know talking with strangers can be a little daunting so if you would prefer to just sit back and listen you are welcome to do so, there are no expectations at The Gathering.

Likewise, if you need the toilet or would like some air or space feel free to leave the room as and when you please.




Coming back together as a group


We will come back together as a group after we have had our discussion, at this point we usually share with the larger group what we have been talking about - don’t worry, a leader or someone who has been coming to The Gathering for a long time will do this.

After we have finished talking we will have a time of open prayer. During open prayer anyone is welcome to pray out loud to the group for anything that is on their heart.

If you would like to pray out loud you’re more than welcome to, but equally you’re welcome to not pray out loud and just listen. Open prayer usually lasts a few minutes after this we will have two more worship songs which you’re welcome to join in with or just to sit and listen.




To the pub!


Once the songs are finished it’s off to the pub!

Some people go home now and some head to the pub next door for a drink and to socialise you’re welcome to do what ever you would be comfortable with.





FAQs

Where are you based?


We are based in Cardiff and meet at City United Reformed Church in the city centre.
We also meet on Zoom.




When do you hold your services?


We have services every Sunday evening at 7pm.
You can either book a ticket for our in person service at City United Reformed Church or
you can join us on Zoom.

For either please get in touch via our contact us page.




I've never been to church before, can I still come to a service?


Absolutely! The Gathering is for anyone and everyone, whether you have been going to church for a long time or are just curious to find out a bit more.

If you are nervous are unsure about coming along on a Sunday you can get in touch with us via our Contact Us page and we will arrange to chat to you before you visit.




Do I need to bring a Bible with me?


No, you don't need to bring a Bible or anything ese with you - but you are more than welcome to bring one if you'd like to. We usually read from The Bible at our service but this will projected/ shared on the screen depending on if you are visiting in person or via Zoom.

There is no need to feel worried about not having a Bible or not knowing where specific books or passages are. The Bible has been new to all of us at one stage and we understand that it can feel daunting and confusing when you first start to explore it - it can often feel confusing even if you've been reading it for years! Just remember that we're all exploring together and there are no silly questions.




Will I have to sing/ pray out loud?


No, we encourage yo to experience The Gathering however you feel comfortable.

We do have times of worship (songs played over the computer with the words on the screen) and open prayer (when anyone is welcome to say a prayer out loud) but lots of people choose to stay quiet at this time.

The leader of the session will tell the group clearly when we are going to have a time of worship or open prayer.

Likewise, if you'd like to sing at the top of your lungs or say a prayer out loud you are welcome to do so! - You can also either stay seated or stand up when we worship.




Can someone meet me before I visit?


We know visiting a new place can be a little nerve wracking. We'd be happy to chat with you before you visit and can arrange for a leader or long standing member to meet you outside the church before we begin.

If you'd like to speak to us about this you can get in touch via our Contact Us page.




What Bible does The Gathering read from?


Generally we read from the NIV translation but this sometimes changes if the leader of a session wants to use something different.

You are welcome to read from the translation you prefer.