What to expect from a Sunday visiting St. Mary's...
We understand for some that visiting a church can be quite un-nerving. You've not been before, it's full of people you don't know, and you don't know what to wear, what to say and when, when to stand, what to do.
Or it may be that you are expecting something very definite, and are surprised that we don't do X, or we had Y.
So here's what to expect!
On a Sunday morning, you'll probably be greeted outside by someone from the church wearing what they wear everyday, regular casual clothes. We are not formal at St. Mary's.
We gather inside the church, and you'll be given a notice sheet, a Bible and maybe a sermon-outline for taking notes or doodling on. There will be loads of chat among a church family that varies from 0-90 years old. You should be made to feel welcome, and you can sit anywhere you like.
You'll notice that we have a live band with guitars and drums in the corner. We sing some traditional hymns, but we also have more contemporary style worship. Don't expect lasers and lights, but don't expect organs and choirs either!
At 10:00 we start the service, and someone will introduce themselves (usually one of the members of our trustees, the PCC) and talk us through the notices, and help us get ready to put our minds on God.
Words for songs, and for the various words we might say together appear on the screen, but you don't have to join in if you don't want to. You can stay sitting down if you simply want to watch and learn. We will stand to sing a few songs of worship, we have a slot for children's teaching, and then the children go out to their own groups. Those groups are led by DBS-checked and trained teachers, by the way.
We will have a few more songs, someone leads us through prayers (we sit for them), we will read the Bible, and the vicar or the youth minister will normally lead us through thinking about that passage for about 30 minutes. The sermons aren't dull- be prepared to be challenged, surprised and made to think- because what Jesus says has relevance for us today in every aspect of our lives. Sometimes we have communion during the service, but you are not expected to take part, and there's no shame in not taking communion. The vicar will explain how it works every time.
After the service, the children come back, and we have tea or coffee (proper coffee, mind!) and a chance to chat. If you want prayer or help, just ask- the regulars will point you in the right direction.
Sunday evenings are very similar, but much smaller and more intimate for those who prefer it slightly quieter.