What to expect on a typical Sunday morning service
If you arrive before 10:30 am there will be people to greet you, and others arriving or getting ready for the service. We have a weekly news-sheet which includes information about what's going on in over the next week or so. There's also a monthly diary of events available.
At the start
Morning services normally start at 10:30 am. There may be a song just before 10:30 am to listen to or join in to prepare for the rest of the service.
Most songs of worship that we sing have been written in the last 30 years including some very new songs, but we also sing some traditional hymns. Music is usually some combination of piano, keyboard, guitars and drums. Some songs are about God and our relationship to him, some are addressed to God. Please feel free to join in as you can or to just listen. The words will normally be on the screen. If you have any problem seeing them, please let us know.
Other regular parts of the services
Services will also typically include prayer, readings form the bible, presentations of various kinds, and talks relating the bible to our lives. We want you to have the opportunity to take part in what you feel you can, but also to have the freedom to watch and listen. Several of us have been through this process. We want you to feel that this is a safe place to find out about God and discover what it is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ that will change your life for good. The offering The vast majority of the money that it takes to run the church comes from our weekly giving. If you visit us, we will be pleased you came and hope you receive from God, please don't feel under any pressure to give. When the offering bag comes around pass it on and put something in if you choose to. We give as a 'Thankyou' to God for his generosity to us. And we give because we believe in the work that we are doing here, and in the work of the missionaries and other organisations that we support.
This takes a bit more explaining! On the 3rd Sunday of the month in the morning, and the 1st Sunday in the evening we celebrate 'communion' as part of the service. You'll see a table set out at the front of the church with bread and grape juice on it. Here's some background information, but it's always explained at the time too. The practice goes right back to when Jesus had his final meal with his followers before he was crucified. He wanted them to realise that his death was no accident. He was soon to die for all that is wrong (the sin) in people. He was willing to take the blame and the consequences for everyone else's sin. He did it so that justice would be done and people could be forgiven. Different church denominations (Catholic, Baptist, Anglican etc.) have different names for what we do, and there are some significant differences in what we believe BUT we all believe that Jesus died for us and this 'meal' is important in pointing to this act of loving sacrifice at the heart of our faith. The bread that we break and wine (grape juice) poured out are a reminder and a sign to us of 'his body broken and his blood shed'. So, for those of us who believe that Jesus died for us, we take and eat a piece of bread and drink some juice as a sign of our receiving what Jesus has done for us. If you don't believe this or are not sure then just pass the bread and juice on. Save taking part for the time when it really means something to you. Maybe use the time to think about the claims of Jesus or pray that God would show you whether it's true. Several of us have prayed an "If you are there God... " type of prayer, and found that God answers.
At the end
At the end of the service you are welcome to stay for refreshments - tea / coffee / soft drinks. There is also an opportunity to be prayed for personally if you would find that helpful. We have people who are happy to listen and pray. You may want to ask for God's help in a situation or pray for someone you know. You may want to talk through something or pray in response to something in the service. We want to be there to help as much as we can.
A good day in church
One of our aims is to have Jesus Christ at the centre of what we do. Many of us have been amazed at what he has done for us, and our lives are being changed for the better as we live in a relationship with God. We hope you enjoy being with us, but more importantly, we hope you discover the reality of the love of God shown to us through his Son, Jesus. Then it will be a good day in church!
In the school summer holidays
During this time services are 'All-age'. This means that we all stay together in the church for the whole service. For most of the year the children and young people have their own groups for part of the service. These summer services tend to be shorter than normal and the sermon part (Bible based talk) is also shorter or broken up into bite-sized chunks.