First Time In Church?
We know that coming to church for the first time can be quite intimidating.
Even for a seasoned church-goer, a new church throws up all sorts of questions. Well, here we try to answer those questions… and above all let you know that you’ll be made welcome at Holy Trinity.
Before the service
When are the services?
Times of the services can be found on the website – but the main service is at 10 am on a Sunday morning. This is when most people come.
Can I park at the church?
Yes, we have a car park. It gets quite full on Sunday, so try and get here at least 10-15 mins before the service.
Can I just walk in?
Yes! Anyone is welcome. We use the new Vesey entrance, at the front of the church. The side door we used to use is now just an emergency exit.
I use a wheelchair – can I get in?
Yes. There is level access right into the church from the car park and the area outside the church. We can remove chairs to help you choose where you’d like to be during the service – just have a chat with one of our stewards. And we have good toilet facilities in the church for those with a disability.
What should I wear?
There’s no dress code. Some people feel more comfortable dressing smartly for church, others prefer to come along dressed more casually. We have underfloor heating, but remember that large churches can be difficult to heat fully. It’s always a good idea to have some extra layers in cold weather just in case!
How long will the service be?
It depends what kind of service it is. Usually just over an hour, sometimes a little longer. ‘All age’ services, where the children stay in with us, are a little shorter.
Do I need to bring anything?
No. However we do take a collection during one of the hymns (it will be clearly marked which hymn) so you may want to bring some money (see below for more details about the collection). We have Bibles freely available in church if you want to use them to follow the readings.
Who is the Vicar? Who else takes services?
John Routh is the Vicar – his actual title is Rector, but that’s another story! Paul Duckers is our Assistant Vicar and Carol Hoare is our Associate Priest. You may also see Pauline Manfield, our Lay Reader, supporting one of the priests during a service. Susie Walker, our youth co-ordinator, sometimes does talks in our all age services.
I don’t know if I’m a Christian – does that matter?
No – all are welcome, whatever stage you’re at in your thoughts about Christianity.
What happens when I walk in?
You’ll be given a smile, a welcoming hello, and a service sheet. If you’re attending before having your wedding at Holy Trinity, and John has asked you to sign a book, you’ll find this on the table near the entrance. Just ask a steward if you’re not sure.
Where do I sit?
Pretty much anywhere you like. A steward will guide you to a seat if you wish. It’s best to choose somewhere with a good view of the altar (so not behind a pillar!). If you have small children you might find it easier to sit at on the left side nearest the creche – but it’s up to you.
Will anyone speak to me?
Hopefully yes! We do try and give a friendly hello to anyone new – it helps us if you let us know it’s your first time.
During the service
How do I know when to stand up and sit down?
The service sheet should indicate this – but a good tip is to watch what others do.
And how do I know when we are supposed to say something aloud?
It will be printed in bold in the service sheet
What if I don’t know the hymns?
Don’t worry – we have a wide range of hymns and no one can know them all. Try and join in as it goes along. No one will mind if you don’t sing.
Should I kneel down for the prayers?
Most people just sit quietly in their seats, heads bowed, during prayers.
Will the sermon be long and boring?
Most Holy Trinity sermons are about 10 minutes and most are really quite interesting, usually based on the Bible reading for the day, and often including day-to-day issues.
What happens during the collection hymn?
You’ll see someone (often one of the children!) coming through the congregation with a small plate to collect offerings. You just put some money on it – it’s up to you how much – and pass it to the next person. If you don’t have any money on you, don’t worry – no one will mind or make you feel embarrassed – just pass it on anyway. Regulars to Holy Trinity may be paying directly through their bank and so may not put money on the plate, or they may put special coloured envelopes or cards in. If you decide to come regularly and want to give in either of these ways, ask one of the stewards or wardens. They’ll introduce you to Bob, who sorts it all out.
We take a collection because it costs £10,000 a month to keep the church running and that nearly all comes from the congregation – we have no central funding.
Help – people are shaking hands – what do I do?
At the ‘Peace’ the minister will say ‘let us offer one another a sign of peace’. Here we shake hands with those around us – each time saying ‘peace be with you’, hopefully with a smile! It’s usual to shake hands with others. It may seem a bit odd at first but most people get to enjoy it – it’s rather a happy time with even the little children joining in.
Should I go up during the communion?
Please do. You’ll see the warden coming up the church inviting people to come in turn. Everyone is invited up to the altar at communion. If you usually take communion in other churches, or have taken it before, then please do take the bread and wine with us. If you’ve never taken communion, please do still come up and receive a blessing – many people do. Just follow everyone else, and when you get to the rail, kneel down and hold your hands down. The minister will know that you’re there for a blessing. After your blessing, go back to your seat.
But if you prefer to stay in your seat, that’s fine, no one will mind. Sometimes people watch what’s going on the first few times they come to church, then join in when they feel comfortable.
Can I bring my children?
Yes – please do. Children of all ages are very welcome at Holy Trinity – and we have activities just for them. There’s a safe and friendly soft crèche area in church which you can use during the service (you stay with your child) and there are groups for school age children run by volunteers..
Does it matter if my baby makes a noise?
Not at all – we know babies make noises and we love to have them with us. If you would feel more comfortable taking your little one to the crèche area that’s fine. Or if you need to stand up with your baby and walk around there’s plenty of room at the back of church. There’s also room to bring your buggy into church and have it near you if your baby is asleep.
Can I feed my baby in church?
Of course. You’re welcome to breastfeed wherever you feel comfortable doing so – ask a steward if you’d like to be shown to somewhere quiet. And if you need some hot water to warm a bottle, that can be arranged too.
What are the toilet and babychange facilities?
Just inside the entrance, we have ladies and gents toilets, and also a babychange facility in the toilet for people with a disability.
Will my children be able to join in?
Yes! There is a children’s song near the beginning when all children are invited to come to the front and pick up an instrument to play. Then they can go to the ‘Sunday school’ groups. These groups are within the church under the north gallery, so they won’t be going far. If you’d like to speak to the person running the children’s group when you first arrive, ask a steward. Or just take your child in when you see the other children go. Children are welcome to stay sitting with you during the service if you and they would prefer.
Then at the end of the service the children are invited to bring their creations from Sparklers to the front of the church for us all to admire. It’s a very popular part of the service as we all applaud their efforts!
After the service
How do I know the service has ended?
The minister will give a blessing and then walk down the aisle to the doors at the back of church. People will sit down, and sometimes will spend a few moments in a quiet prayer before getting up.
Should I stay for a while?
Yes please do! We serve coffee, tea, juice and biscuits in the church itself after services so we do hope you’ll stay around for a while. You don’t need money, but there’s a dish for small donations if you’d like to help us cover the cost. Let us know if you’re new to Holy Trinity. We try very hard to make sure all are welcome, so you won’t be left on your own.
What should I do with the service sheet?
Take it home and read the notices and forthcoming events. We create new sheets for each service so we don’t need them back.
I’d like to come regularly – should I tell someone?
It’s always good for us to know if someone is new, and especially if they feel they’d like to come regularly. Let one of the stewards know, or tell one of the clergy. But you can just keep coming along if you prefer – we’ll notice!
Do I have to come every week?
Of course we’d love you to feel you want to come regularly, but we know that’s not easy for everyone. Come when you can.
Hopefully we’ve been able to answer most of the questions you might have about coming to Holy Trinity for the first time.
You’ll find lots of other information on the website if you follow the links, or check the menu at the top of the page.
Please do come along and join us – and if you have any more questions, just ask!