New to St Mary's?
Going to church for the first time, like any new experience, can seem a bit daunting and you will probably have many questions about it:
- Can anyone attend? (Yes)
- Where do I sit? (Anywhere in the main seating area as you enter)
- Is there a dress code? (No)
Firstly, and most importantly, anyone and everyone is welcome at St Mary’s. We strive to be a welcoming and inclusive community, and invite people to join us regardless of faith, gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity or disability.
Below are some questions and answers that we hope you will find helpful. If you have any further queries then please contact us for more details.
I would like to visit St Mary’s but don’t want to attend a service. Can I do this?
Yes. The church is open daily from 9.30am – 5pm (except Tuesday mornings in term time) and you are welcome to walk around, take time to sit and pray or reflect, and enjoy our beautiful churchyard. If you would like to get a feel for what is involved in a traditional service, then head to our YouTube channel where you will find a selection of services, sermons and reflections available to watch.
What services can I attend?
At 6pm there is a service of prayer and reflection. Sometimes this is ‘Said’ Evensong (a quiet spoken service with traditional words but without music). Once a month it is a service of Healing and Wholeness and occasionally it will be Choral Evensong. We have recently introduced a more informal monthly service ‘Sunday @ 6’ led by members of the congregation.
During the week we have Said Morning Prayer, Monday – Friday at 8.45am, and every Thursday we have Said Holy Communion at 12 noon which is preceded by Quiet Time at 11.15am.
How do I know what to do during the service?
When you get to church, you will be greeted by a steward who will be happy to answer any questions you may have. There is a booklet so you can follow the words of the service. It is clearly marked where you can join in, where hymns are sung (if applicable), and when to stand or sit. Hymns are sung from the hymnbooks in the chairs, and the hymn numbers are displayed on the boards at the front of the church. At the end of the service, you are welcome to stay for coffee/tea and biscuits. This is an ideal opportunity to introduce yourself and meet other people if you want to.
Do I have to take communion?
There is no obligation to take communion, but if you would like to, or if this is your usual practice, then you may receive communion. Alternatively, whether or not you have been confirmed, you are welcome to receive a blessing instead. The stewards will direct you during communion. If you just wish to receive a blessing, follow others to the front and keep your hands down and your head bowed then the priest will know. If you do not wish to receive communion or a blessing then just stay in your seat.
Do I have to make a donation?
You do not have to give any money. If you do wish to make a donation then you can do so either during the collection in the service (Gift Aid envelopes are available) or we have a contactless machine at the entrance to the church. If you would rather donate online then please visit our Financial Contributions page.
Can I bring my children?
Children are always welcome. During the 10am Parish Communion we run our Sunday Clubs and new children are always welcome to join. If they do not want to join one of the groups and get restless during the service, you can take them to the Melville Room (to the left of the organ) where there are some toys and you can follow the service on a TV screen in the room.
Do you have wheelchair access?
We do. Anyone in a wheelchair or who has limited mobility can enter and exit the church from a side door. One of the stewards will assist you. The main entrance to church has two steps and a hand rail. If you would like to receive communion in your seat then just let one of the stewards know before the service.
Are there toilet facilities?
There are, including disabled access, and these are accessed via the Melville Room (to the left of the organ).
How can I get involved with church life?
How can I keep in touch/receive news?
Either fill out a Welcome card at the back of the church or email the office and we will add you to our contact list. We email a weekly Newsletter giving information about services and other things going on at St Mary’s.