Every time we attend a service a small folded piece of paper is given to us with the service booklet and, as a sideman, I am surprised at the number of these which are handed back afterwards.
The ‘pew sheet’, as it is called, is a leaflet given out for use not only during the current service but throughout the coming week. Let’s take a closer look at it.
On the front we are given the times of the services for the current Sunday, together with a welcome to visitors and newcomers as well as information for those attending with children, any who have sight or hearing problems, and those who wish to donate via Gift Aid.
Inside the leaflet are listed the music to be used, those leading the services, the readers, preacher, intercessor and those taking up the offertory, all of whom need our prayers before the service starts. The collect, readings and psalm follow, which we can look at before the service and afterwards for reflection. The references for the readings for the following Sunday are then listed, followed by suggestions for daily prayers throughout the coming week, carefully chosen to observe happenings in our church, town, country and in the world. Names of the sick and infirm who have requested our prayers follow, then those of the recently departed and any who are to be married or baptised during the week.
The next section gives full details of the Sunday services within our benefice of Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brentor, including a list of events and services taking place during the week and any saints’ days and anniversaries of significant occasions. The final page lists notices of forthcoming events and practical information for reference.
So this little piece of paper is a mine of information which I personally use daily and feel lost without. To misquote a well-known saying, ‘The pew sheet is for all the week and beyond, not just for Sunday’.