What happens in a church service?
It does change a little from week to week. However, the service will normally last a bit more than an hour. There will be: singing with some wonderful music from our live worship team (guitar, drums, and vocals); a reading from the Bible; some thoughts on how that part of the Bible can help us live our lives today; a time to pray and think; and two or three Sundays a month we also share Communion together.
What do the children and young people do?
Every Sunday there is something for pre-school children to do, and three Sundays in the month there is something for school aged children.
We try and make our sung worship accessible for all ages. We like to think our style of music is enjoyable for all! As a parent or carer, do encourage your children to sing along – none of us need to be the best singer in the world!
Each Sunday we try to have at least one activity as part of our gathering together where we learn by doing: if people want to they are encouraged to do something. The actions explain the words we use, and helps us learn important things such as our need to say sorry to God, to speak about our beliefs, or to get our hearts ready to meet with God. We do this through writing, drawing, making, moving – all kinds of actions. As a parent or carer, do encourage and help your children participate in these activities – feel free to explain to them what we are doing, and maybe why: although sometimes knowing why doesn’t matter, it is the doing that matters.
During the service: pre-school children
There is no planned provision for pre-school children during the service. However there is a creche that is self-staffed that you can use. Alternatively there are ‘quiet boxes’. These have one or two simple and quiet activities in them for children to play with.
During the service: school-age children – D:cafe!
During most of the service we have our discipleship café for young people (school aged children): D:cafe! They will learn a little about the Bible and what it means to us today. There is space to ask questions and activities to do, and there is normally some kind of game. Throughout the year there are also socials for children this age.
What is Communion?
Communion (also called Holy Communion, the Eucharist, The Last Supper, Mass) is at the heart of Christian worship. It is celebrated by Christians around the world as a memorial of the death and resurrection of Jesus, in response to his words at the final meal he shared with his disciples, ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the Eucharist, God invites us to his table as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet which he has prepared for people of all nations and cultures.
Outwardly, Communion takes the form of a shared meal of bread and wine, recalling the fact that, at the Last Supper, Jesus associated the breaking of bread and sharing of wine with his own imminent death, giving them special significance.
After his resurrection, the disciples recognised Jesus as he broke bread to share with them. Each time we share the meal Jesus shared with his friends, we remember his offering of himself on the cross, we rejoice in his resurrection from the dead, and look forward to the coming of God’s Kingdom.
Holy Communion can take many different forms across the Church of England, and it may be understood by Christians in different ways, but at the heart of the celebration there is always a special prayer of thanksgiving, or ‘Eucharistic Prayer’ (eucharistein means ‘to give thanks’ in Greek). This is offered by the priest who presides at the service in the name of all who are gathered, giving thanks for all that God has given us in Christ. The priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer, and everyone says the Lord’s Prayer together. The community then receives the consecrated bread and wine. At the end of the service, the community is sent out into the world as a ‘living sacrifice’ to live and work to God’s praise and glory.
All this happens toward the end of the service, as it is the highlight of the worship – we save the best bit until last!
Church is much more than what we do on a Sunday morning – it is about what we do all week round. As well as trying to live like Jesus every day, we also have other activities and times of gathering together where we try to do the things that Jesus taught his disciples to do. Check out that ‘What’s On’ section of our website.