Guest Speaker Information
We're delighted that you’re going to be speaking for us at College Heights. Here is some information to help you prepare.
College Heights is located at 1150 West Hillsdale Boulevard in San Mateo, California. We are just off of Highway 92, on the other side of the freeway from the College of San Mateo.
Our services are Sunday mornings at 10:00am. As a guest speaker, you should probably plan to arrive by 9:30am. There are usually people in the church by 9:00am if you would like to come earlier.
Talk Format and Duration
Sermons usually run about 10-15 minutes. Your talk does not need to be a traditional sermon. You have a lot of freedom to do whatever works for you.
After you speak, we will have a friendly and relaxed "talk back" session. This is a chance for people from the congregation to share their own thoughts in response to your talk. You do not need to do an elaborate response to these comments. Often it will be enough to say, "Thank you, I appreciate your response."
What We Need in Advance
A title for your talk / sermon, and a brief summary of what you expect to speak about.
A short biography of yourself that we can put on our bulletins, website, and Facebook. Ideally this would be somewhere around one to five sentences long.
A reading or two that we can use in service before your talk. Typically, we have a scripture reading. Readings can also be poetry or other inspirational materials. Readings don’t have to be from the Christian tradition. If you are stumped on this one, let us know and we will work with you to find an appropriate reading or two.
If possible, we would like a picture that we can include in our e-Newsletter and our Facebook page. Landscape works best, but we can also make portrait work. The higher the resolution, the better.
You are welcome to request music or hymns if there is is music that you would particularly like for your service. This is completely optional — some speakers like to pick their own music, others prefer to leave that to us.
If you can have your sermon title, sermon summary, bio, picture, readings, and any music requests to us by the end of the day on Tuesday two weeks before you preach, that would be very helpful.
About Our Services
There will probably be around 25-30 people in worship.
Our services start with a prayer time, followed by readings and a sermon.
We will sing together at various times in the service.
We are a Christian congregation, but we welcome perspectives from outside of Christianity. We have at least one member of our congregation is an open atheist. Whatever your spiritual background is (or isn’t), you will be welcomed and your perspective will be valued.
Please let us know if you would like to lead additional parts of the service, such as leading a prayer, doing a reading, or doing the benediction. We are flexible and we like trying new things.
After the service there is a lively coffee hour for 30-40 minutes. If you are able to stay, congregation members will enjoy chatting with you. Your colleagues, family members or kids are always welcome to attend with you.
We are an open and affirming church. We fully support the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and we actively include LGBT people in our church's leadership.
Politics and Current Events
We believe that part of God's will for our church is that we work diligently and lovingly for social justice and the betterment of the world. You are welcome to speak about current events and local and national issues. However, in keeping with the IRS guidelines for non-profit organizations, we ask that you do not A) endorse or oppose political parties or candidates for office, or B) compare our church's positions with the positions of political parties or candidates. A good practice is to talk about your dream of what the world could be and discuss actions that people in local communities can do to achieve that dream.
As a token of our appreciation, we offer guest speakers from outside of our congregation an honorarium of $150. If there is more than one guest speaker at a service, we split the $150 equally between the speakers.
Occasionally guest speakers will prefer not to receive an honorarium or they would prefer a gift to a specific charitable organization. Please let us know if you prefer either of those two options; otherwise our treasurer will make a check out directly to you. If you would prefer a gift to specific charitable organization, we would be glad to give you a check made out to that organization.
Please let us know if you have any questions.