We have two main doors that lead into the church. One is on Bloor Street, and the other is on Huron, by the corner with Bloor. Neither one is a classic big front door like you see in most churches. That's because when Bloor Street was widened many decades ago, we lost the space for front steps and large front doors.
We also have a wheelchair ramp at the parking lot entrance, which is off Huron. The main level of the sanctuary is wheelchair accessible, and there are wheelchair accessible washrooms in McClure Hall, which is nearby.
The lobby, a.k.a. the Narthex
Once you walk inside, you walk up a few steps to enter a lobby area, called the Narthex. Here you can get a free cup of coffee or glass of water before the service starts. On the outside wall you will see stained glass windows featuring pictures of some of the past ministers who helped establish the church in the 19th century. Most important of all, there are doors to the sanctuary, which is where the church service is held.
As you approach a door to the sanctuary, someone holding bulletins will meet you. These people are called greeters and they are there to welcome you, to answer any questions and to hand you a small booklet called a bulletin. In it you will find a description of the day's church service from start to finish. It's like a program for a play or a Broadway show - it explains who the minister is, who plays music, and what is going to happen every step of the way. The words for the prayers are in the bulletin, as are the names of all the hymns, with references to the page numbers in the hymnbook.
This is where the church service takes place. It has many rows of pews where people sit. It doesn't matter where you sit; take a seat anywhere you like. There is also a balcony if you would prefer to sit there.
Once you take a seat, you will find a few books in a small shelf attached to the pew in front of you. At least one of the books is a red hymnbook called Voices United. This book contains most of the hymns we sing during the service. The bulletin will mention the page number for each hymn. Occasionally, the bulletin will list “MV” before a hymn number, which means that the hymn comes from a book called More Voices, which is also on the shelf. It is a newer hymnbook, and has a soft cover. Lastly, there is usually a copy of the Bible next to the hymnbooks.
As people sit down around you, look up. You will see stained glass windows on all the outer walls. In Bloor Street United, the most spectacular one is on the south-facing wall above where you came in, on the balcony level. If you can't see it from where you are seated, it is worth getting up to take a look at some point. It features Jesus with outstretched arms in the center, surrounded by prophets and ministers and people from all over the world.
Looking straight ahead from your pew, you will see the area where the minister speaks, and the choir sings. This is called the chancel, and is described in more detail here .
Following the Service and McClure Hall
When the church service is over, most of us file out of a door at the front of the sanctuary on the left hand side. This leads to the large room where we meet for coffee and conversation, McClure Hall. The refreshments are free; there are accessible washrooms, chairs and coat racks. Please know that you are welcome to join us. This is a great place to meet some new people and to ask questions if you are new here. There is even an information table run by the Communications Committee, where you can pick up brochures and ask questions.
You can also leave through the same doors you used to enter the church, by retracing your steps.