WHAT HAPPENS IN A CHURCH SERVICE
When you come to a service in one of our five beautiful church buildings, you will normally find someone to welcome you and give you any books you might need.
Please sit anywhere you like. If you’re new to church, then it might help to sit near the back, where you can see what everyone else is doing. Or you might like to ask the person handing out books to suggest someone to sit beside you to guide you through anything unfamiliar. Wherever you sit, please don't worry about ‘getting it wrong’. Even the most regular churchgoers can chime in with the priest's words by mistake, or sit down when everyone else is standing - and nobody minds!
Before the service: Some people will be chatting or helping to prepare for worship, while others are sitting in silent prayer. Please do whatever feels most comfortable for you.
During the service:
Service sheets include guidance about when we usually stand or sit, but if you are unable to change positions easily, or find it difficult to stand for any length of time, then you are very welcome to remain seated throughout.
The service leader should let us know if we need to skip pages or do anything different. We really do try not to get this wrong, so that you won't find that there's a part of the service where everyone seems to know what's happening except you - but if we do, then please remember that this is our mistake not yours, and just join in by listening at that point.
Similarly, if you don't know one of the hymns or songs that we sing, then please don't worry. The words of the song may still be very meaningful for you to read, and as you hear the tune repeated through the verses you may feel able to join in.
At Communion services
Bread and wine are blessed by the priest, in a series of prayers, before we share them. When people begin to go forward to receive the bread and wine, all those who normally receive Communion in their own churches are welcome to receive it here. If you are unsure about receiving Communion, or this is all new to you, then please do what feels comfortable. You are very welcome to come forward as others will or alternatively to remain seated. If this is all new to you or you do not usually receive communion them please bring the service book with you. The priest will then know that you want to receive a blessing: he will hold his hand over your head and say a short prayer for God's blessing on you.
Before Communion, the priest may invite us to “offer one another a sign of peace”: we shake hands with those around us, saying “peace be with you” or similar words. Some people move around the church to greet one another. Others prefer simply to stand or sit quietly. Please do whatever you feel comfortable doing.
At most services, an offering (money) will be taken during one of the hymns. This will be announced, and a collection plate passed along each row. This is our main source of income: in the UK the church does not receive government or council money, so church members' giving is what pays for our priest and other ministry costs, and for the upkeep of our historic buildings. As a visitor, you should feel free either to pass on the collection plate or to contribute if you wish. There is no 'right' amount to contribute: we give what we feel called by God to give.
At the end of the service: We usually remain standing while the person or people who have led the service walk to the back of the church, and then we sit for a few moments in silence.
For Church Services explained clic below
Afterward the Service
Many people like to remain in church to chat together. Tea/coffee and biscuits/cake are often served at this time (there is no charge for the refreshments, which are donated by church members). Please do join us for this time of fellowship, which will also give us a chance to meet you. Please feel free to ask us any questions you may have concerning the service and our community.
God is perfect but we are not!
We try to be as welcoming as possible, but if we get it wrong - if people are either so deep in conversation that you feel left out, or so very 'welcoming' that you feel overwhelmed - then please do let us know.