Would a worship service at Mission Valley Community Chapel be that different than going to non-Open Plymouth Brethren worship services? The short answer – No, we are a conservative Evangelical Christian church with a worship service of prayers, hymn singing, a musical special, and a sermon from the Bible. People wear everything from shorts and slippers to business suits. We have a communion service after the worship service on the first Sunday of the month. We also have communion services before Sunday school on other Sundays that is unique, but if you went, you could follow along easily, see below.
As someone who has been a member of a few Baptist churches, when I started going to the chapel there were no significant bumps in the road. All churches do their services a little differently, and the Chapel’s worship service is not significantly different from other conservative Evangelical churches with a traditional worship service. A minor difference may be that a man from the congregation is asked to give the first prayer.
On the first Sunday of the month, we have our communion service. In our first Sunday communion service, we do things a little differently. It’s slower paced with hymns spontaneously announced for singing. When the bread and cup are given in individual servings, we eat and drink as soon as we receive them. Most churches wait until everyone has received them. (I believe we do this from when originally there was one loaf and one cup and people ate or drank when it came to them.) This is the most significant difference you will run into in a worship service.
Our half hour Breaking of Bread service/Communion service are on the other Sundays of the month at 9:30 a.m. before Sunday school. This is something that is unique to the Plymouth Brethren, something I’ve come to appreciate. We may write about this more in another post, but if you were to just go, it’s easy to follow along. Briefly, it’s an informal service with men standing up with prayers, Bible readings, and hymns to sing before the taking of the Lord’s Supper.
If you were to ask, you’d find out that none of the leadership is paid, and the majority of our giving goes to missionaries and evangelists worldwide. As I’ve said before, I first went to the Chapel because I agreed with their statement of faith, and I stayed because of the kind people and the focus on missions and evangelism.
We do call ourselves a chapel instead of a church; when I find out why, maybe I’ll write a post about that, too!
Lord willing, future posts on this topic will discuss the history of the Plymouth Brethren movement, beliefs common to it, why we do things the way we do, and well-known authors, theologians, free books online, and evangelists and missionaries associated with the Plymouth Brethren movement, and why we identify with the particular strand of this history called Open Plymouth Brethren (Christian Brethren).