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My deepest fear is not that I am inadequate. My deepest fear is that I am powerful beyond measure. It is my light not my darkness that most frightens me.     I ask myself, who am I to be brilliant, fabulous and talented? Actually, who am I not to be, for I am a child of God and as I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give those around me permission to do the same.    As I am liberated from my own fear, my presence automatically liberates others.

--Marianne Williamson

Church Etiquette

Church etiquette is a set of rules that govern behavior in the house of God.  It comes from the same principle as the etiquette that governs behavior in polite society.   With that said let's look as some basic rules of etiquette:

The Sanctuary

Arrive on time for service. That means at least five minutes early.   Late arrivals should enter quietly and stand in the back until an appropriate break in the ceremony allows them to enter.

The pulpit is reserved for the pastor and invited speakers.    All other speakers taking part in the worship service should use side lecturns and podiums.

A common rule of thought is that crossing your legs in church should be avoided.   Crossing your legs is considered too casual a sitting position.   To cross or not to cross is a personal issue, however; it should be given some consideration.

Personal conversation with friends and family should be avoided during the service as this is a time to comune with God.

Avoid claiming the outside seat in an empty pew.    Claiming the outside seat forces others to climb over you in order to take a seat for worship.

Try to avoid leaving the sanctuary during the service.     Leaving to quiet an infant or other emergencies are acceptable exceptions.

Food, beverages, snacks and gum have no place in the sanctuary.     Bottles and teething snacks for infants are acceptable exceptions.

Communion is reserved for believers who wish to partake.

Personal items should never be placed on the comunion table.     This table should be used for holy ceremonies only.

Dress for church in a manner that shows respect.     You are going to church to fellowship with and honor God.

Leaving the worship service early deprives you of a blessing and is considered rude.

Come as you are???

This invitation, "Come as you are,"  has unfortunately evolved over the years into an invitation to literally roll out of a cave and come as you are.    The above list of church etiquette tips is intended to serve not as a rule of protocol but as a gentle reminder to worshipers that good manners and proper etiquette are important in the house of God.

Providing individuals with the business skills and social graces necessary to succeed   ...When Manners Matter

The Etiquette Professionals 2005