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"Collects appear in the liturgies of Roman Catholic, Anglican,and Lutheran churches, among others." (Thank you Wickipedia) "The word collecta meant the gathering of the people together ... It may also have been used to mean a prayer that collected into one the prayers of the individual members of the congregation."
Anyway, no good guessing, I am just curious. I would simply ask what it is and if anyone can show him a copy of it.
PS I could be totally wrong! I was an Anglican for almost 30 years and we now go to a free church (Geographical reasons, nothing more) and we don't use collects in the free church! I kind of miss this kind of liturgy, where you all say something together. but if course if anyone in the group does not know what is being said then it is not so helpful so better for him to know.
No etiquette, it sounds like they are making assumptions which perhaps they shouldn't do. If there is a group leader, I'd have a quiet word (or email) with him/her to let them know. I had a young mother come to church with her two, and I printed off a copy of the Lord's prayer for her because she didn't know it and wanted to teach the children. It takes a bit of courage sometimes, but people are genuinely happy to help if they are made aware.
Thank you for the responses! It is Church of England... And they are memorised prayers, but different ones each time. He says at the start someone will suggest a prayer "why don't we start with X" and they all agree. I've told him to listen and try and remember the name of them so at least we can look them up, but his memory is really not his strong point!!!! I really just wondered if there was an etiquette we weren't aware of... And how you're supposed to learn them all....
We recently moved to a new area and have started attending our local church which is lovely and very welcoming. My DH and I have not been regular churchgoers in the past but we now attend regularly and get a lot out of it. A few weeks ago, one of the church groups made an appeal for volunteers in my DH's profession so he has now been to a couple of meetings and is able to contribute a lot... However, they start and close each meeting with a prayer, always a different one and he doesn't know them... He feels quite uncomfortable and he's not sure the best way of handling it, should he just stay silent, mumble along or ask them what the prayer is? He feels a bit like a fraud and doesn't want to mention he's not very experienced at praying!