Christians believe that when we share holy communion we experience God in a special way. The bible insists that we do this with the right attitude and after careful thought, so it’s never a casual or trivial thing we do. At our communion services, nearly everyone in church goes to the front to receive the bread and the wine. If you don’t wish to, you’d be welcome to come forward with everyone else and simply keep your hands down. That’s the way the Vicar will know that you don’t want to receive. Instead, he or she will pray a short (one-sentence) prayer or blessing for you. If you prefer to stay in your seat, that’s alright too. If you want to receive the bread and the wine, then you’re welcome, as long as you are sincere in wanting to follow Jesus as your Lord. Communion is normally for adults, or for children who have been confirmed. If you have children who have not been confirmed, bring them to the communion and we’ll pray a prayer of blessing.
No – its always free. There’s never an admission charge. Every service (including every wedding and funeral) is a public event. You’ll be welcome whether you have no faith, another faith or a strong Christian faith. We usually take a collection during the service. A collection plate will be passed along the rows and people put donations in for the running of the church and the organisations we support. Many people make their donation by standing order, so they just pass the plate along. You don’t have to give anything but if you do, we’re very grateful.
Two ways. First the leader taking the service will always invite the congregation to stand or sit. Second, just do what everyone else does. There are parts of the service where standing just feels right. It helps us to sing better and it shows particular respect at significant times of the service. If you find it hard to stand, then it’s quite alright to stay sitting.
There is probably no-one in our church who knows every song we sing. We sing some traditional hymns at St Luke’s and also some contemporary modern songs. If you don’t know the song, don’t worry. Don’t sing if you don’t want to.
Our church is for babies, toddlers, children, teenagers and adults. We have a range of groups for children of every age, the children start off in church and then go to their groups after a ten minutes. There is a crèche for 0-5 year olds which is available during the whole service. We understand that children find it hard to sit still and to be quiet but we are quite used to children in our services. There are draw string bags hanging on the wall that have toys in which you are welcome to make use of. You can always take your child out to the crèche mid-way through a service if you like. We’ve also got toilet and baby-changing facilities.
It’s very safe. We use alcoholic wine, which helps to kill germs, and the cup is wiped before each person takes a small sip. If you have any concerns, you need not receive the wine to fully share in communion.
Every service follows a kind of pattern. We’re fairly flexible, so the pattern changes. Think of a meal in a restaurant. You might begin with a drink at the bar, then move to your table and enjoy some nibbles. The first course is followed by the main dish, then there’s dessert and coffee. In the same way, the service includes a sequence which helps us worship God. We usually start with a hymn/song of praise, and at 10.45am a children’s song which includes lively actions! Then prayers that help us realise that we all need God’s forgiveness and strength. Then we listen to readings from the Bible and hear a talk which explains how these are relevant for our lives today. We pray for the world around us and then, at a communion service, we prepare to share the bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus. Finally we hear God’s blessing for the week that lies before us.
The morning services usually last around an hour. Most people stay inside church afterwards for a cup of tea/coffee and to chat to friends. This is a great time to get to know people and enjoy company. If your children have attended the groups, they will need collecting at 12 noon. The crèche runs until 12 noon as well.
People come to St Luke’s in all sorts of clothes. Some in t-shirts and jeans, some in shirt and a tie. Wear what you want! If you really want us to tell you what to wear, choose what you’d wear for a simple meal at the pub or café with friends.
Our Sunday morning services are at 8.45am and 10.45am. Some people begin to arrive half an hour before – that’s great if you want to get the best seats as we get pretty full by the start of the services, especially at the 10.45am service. Our evening service starts at 6.30pm and there’s hot drinks and refreshments available beforehand. If it’s your first time, come about 10 minutes before the start. By then, we’ll be almost ready, there’ll be someone friendly at the door to say hello. Sit wherever you like – no one at our church gets fussy about who sits where. Use the time before the service to relax and settle down. Just like in the cinema, getting yourself into the right frame of mind and ready for the service itself will help enormously. Many people take a moment to pray quietly. Others like to greet their friends.
We are able to use the school car park next door on Sundays. This does get quite full and then we park on the street. If you come early you can always get a space on the street almost outside church if you struggle to walk far. We do have a sloped entrance on one side of the church to accommodate wheelchairs and prams.
No. We’re a busy church and lots of visitors come along. You might feel like you’re the only stranger but you won’t be. Having said that, don’t be surprised if people look as though they’re glad to see to see you – we enjoy having visitors and newcomers. Why not take the initiative and say hello to someone who looks friendly.