What to expect if you’re new

The basics

The Beginning
Most people arrive at about 9.55am. Please use the side door on St Andrew’s Road. Someone will greet you and hand you a hymn book, a mass card and a sheet with the readings on for the day. You can sit wherever you like. At 10am the priest will welcome everyone and after a short piece of organ music we stand to sing the first hymn.

The service begins with a couple of short prayers, then the children and helpers leave for Sunday School during the Gloria.

The middle
We sit for the readings, but stand for the Gospel reading, because these are the words of Jesus. After the Sermon, we stand to say the Creed. Then we pray for the world, for our community, for people who are sick, and for the Church. Some people sit, some kneel, some stand. Do what you feel most comfortable with. After that the priest will invite you to stand and share the Peace. At St Andrew’s people walk around and offer a simple handshake with words such as ‘The Peace of Christ’ to everyone in the congregation. It can take a few minutes and is a bit noisy. Then we sing the Offertory hymn. During this hymn a collection is made for the upkeep and work of St Andrew’s. Please be generous.

The Communion
The priest begins the long Eucharistic Prayer. People stand for the first half, but sit or kneel after the ‘Holy, holy, holy’. At Communion time people walk to the altar and kneel at the communion rail. Some people take the consecrated Bread and Wine and some ask for a blessing instead.
All baptised Christians who desire to receive Holy Communion are welcome to take the consecrated Bread and Wine here. What matters is a sincere heart and desire.

The End
The service ends with a few announcements and the last hymn. Then the priest moves to the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and we say the Angelus together.

When the service is over, do join us for coffee, or tea and a biscuit or even a slice of toast. And do please introduce yourself to one of the clergy. See you on Sunday!

The details

St Andrew’s is a Church of England church which is sometimes called High Church, or Anglo-Catholic. This means that we place a very special value on the 2000 year old traditions of the Church. Like most Christians around the world and for the past 2000 years we use vestments, bells, incense and the same texts. We know that some of these are unfamiliar for English people, but we feel that it is important to belong to something bigger than ourselves and our own cultures.

The Gloria is based on the song the angels sang at Christmas and Christians have been singing it for almost 2000 years. The same is true for most of the words of the service – All over the world Christians are saying the same kind of phrases and responses.

Incense has been used in worship by almost all worldwide religions for thousands of years. It is mentioned in both the Old and the New Testament.
Even though incense is quite unusual nowadays in Church of England churches, most churches around the world still use incense during their services.
For most Christians it is very normal.
Just as sight, hearing, taste and touch are used in worship, so also is our sense of smell.

Holy Communion is our most important service : the Lord’s service at the Lord’s table on the Lord’s day. Different Christians hold different views about what happens to the bread and the wine at Communion. In the Church of England people make up their own mind, but all Christians agree that it is a moment of intense Communion with Jesus. It is something Jesus told us to do to remember him, and it is the action of doing rather than talking about it which unites us.

The Angelus is based on the words the angel Gabriel spoke to the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary has always been seen as an example of faithfulness and determination in the faith. She is Jesus’s mother, and we believe that she is now with him in heaven.

Find out more about Christianity here