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 here 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.
How do I get in?
We’re now mainly using 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! One of the main reasons for re-ordering the church was to improve access. 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 now have new 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 in jeans and trainers.
We now have the new underfloor heating up and running, but remember that large churches can be difficult to heat fully. It’s always a good idea to have some extra layers in very 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). This is 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.
It’s usual practice to give a contribution at this point in the service – it’s up to you how much.
Who is the Vicar? Who else takes services?
John Routh (the one with the beard) is the Vicar – his actual title is Rector, but that’s another story! Paul Duckers (the one without the beard) is our curate (Assistant Vicar), and Carol Hoare (the pretty one without the beard) is our Associate Priest.
You may also see Pauline Manfield, our Lay Reader, supporting one of the priests during a service.
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 (and sometimes a hymn book)
Where do I sit?
Pretty much anywhere you like. There will be people to help guide you to a seat if you wish – the ‘stewards’. It’s best to choose somewhere with a good view of the altar. If you have small children you might find it easier to sit at the 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?
No! 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.
Why are some people ignoring the collection plate?
Regulars to Holy Trinity may be paying directly through their bank and so don’t put money on the plate each week. Some people put in special coloured envelopes or cards with their contribution 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.
Help – people are shaking hands – what do I do?
At the ‘Peace’ the Vicar 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’. Some people leave their seats to shake hands with those around them. You’re welcome to stay in your place, or move around, as you prefer.
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. Everyone is invited up to the altar at communion. If you have been through a Confirmation service, or usually take communion in other churches, you are invited to take communion (the bread and wine). If not, you are most welcome to come up for a blessing (just hold your hands down so that the minister knows). If you prefer to stay in your seat, that’s fine.
Can I bring the kids?
Yes! Children are very welcome – and we have activities just for them. There’s a safe and friendly soft creche area in church which you can use during the service.
Have a look on our website to find out more.
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 my kids 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 (see the website for details). These groups are within the church, so they won’t be going far.
Children are welcome to stay sitting with you during the service if you prefer.
And as well as the children’s song near the beginning of the service, they also come out at the end. They are invited to bring their creations from Sparklers 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 coffee?
Yes please do! We’re now serving coffee and tea in the church itself after services so we do hope you’ll stay around for a while.
Let us know 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.
If you have children with you it may be helpful to know that we serve juice and biscuits, and there are toilets and a baby change facility. You are welcome to breastfeed. So there’s no need to rush off – let your little ones relax and explore the church!
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 would 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?
No. 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. Please do come along and join us – and if you have any more questions, just ask!