What goes on in Church ?
Going into a Church can be very nerve-wracking - particularly if you have never been to one. Unfortunately, unlike a coffee bar or a shop, there is no big window through which you can see what is going on inside (although we do have plans to put a glass door in the porch, which should help!).
You may think are you going to be the only one there? Is it all a bit strange? Once inside, will I stay feeling uncomfortable until the end - when is the end? Will I end up being there all day? Will I have to sign up for something? Will it only be full of ‘shiny, happy people'?
These are all natural concerns before visiting a church for the first time. We very much hope that you will come in and join with us, so we would like in this section to give you little information to help you to decide that it is a good idea.
If you do decide to come in then check first on our This week in church or What's On page to see exactly what is happening on the day you want to come.
What Are the Different Services?
If you want a quiet traditional service, the 8 am Sunday Holy Communion service is quiet, with a small number of people attending. There are no hymns and the service is very short. (We have a similar service midweek on Wednesdays at 9.30am.)
Our main Sunday service is at 10.45am. The type of service varies during the month. Everyone is welcome to whichever type of service it is. A crèche is normally available.
On the first Sunday of each month we have a relaxed informal worship service in the evening at 6.30pm.
What do I need to bring ?
You don't need to bring anything with you! There's no need to have a Bible or to have ever read one. (If you are interested in looking at the Bible at home but don't have one, you can consult the Bible Gateway website.)
We are increasingly using the large screen at the front of the church, where you will find everything you need. For services where we don't service booklets, hymnbooks etc will be given to you.
nb There are large print versions available and there is an induction loop for hearing aid users.
Feel free to sit anywhere but arrive early for a back seat (old Anglican joke!).
We do have collections at most of our services. There is absolutely no obligation to give but we mention it so that you are not surprised if a plate is passed round (at some services we just leave the plate near the door on the way out). If you are giving we would encourage you to make it a gift aid donation using one of the yellow envelopes that you will find at the end of the pews (the church seating).
Will I know what to do ?
For all services we have booklets that have all the details of the service in them, so it is not a case of having memorise anything. Where the screen is used, all the words are projected on to it.
For Holy Communion in particular the clergy will normally invite people to stand up or sit down at the appropriate moments as people are often nervous about doing the 'wrong thing'. Amongst the newer Church traditions at Holy Communion is 'sharing the peace'. This is an icebreaker where we generally shake the hands of the people around us and say "peace be with you" or ("the peace of the Lord be always with you"). Hopefully it makes you feel more at home and it emphasises that we are part of an act of collective worship, and not just a group of isolated individuals.
If you don't want to participate in Communion (receiving the bread and the wine) then you can either just remain in your seat or if you wish you can come up to the front with other people but have your service booklet in your hands. This will signal to the clergy to simply give you a quiet blessing, after which you return to your seat as others will be doing.
What do I wear ?
Essentially just wear what makes you feel comfortable. What others wear will vary greatly and depends upon their attitude. Some feel that they should always dress smartly in the house of God - others feel more comfortable in casual clothes. Both are fine. There is no issue about being 'under-dressed' or 'over-dressed'. Our suggestion would be not to be concerned about it at all.
Want Somebody to listen and talk with you, or pray with you ?
We have a number of people who are part of our Pastoral Care team -these people are identified by name badges. They are ready to listen and talk with you confidentially, -either there and then, or sometime or somewhere else, whichever you may prefer.
Prayer normally takes place in the 'Lady Chapel' -the area to the left of the altar separated by the wooden screen.
Find out more on our Pastoral Care page.
Want somebody to pray FOR you ?
Please only supply information you are happy for us to share with those who will be praying or are part of the Pastoral Care team.