Occasionally our Sunday service pattern is disturbed by special services. It makes it harder for new members of the congregation to get a handle on what to expect each week, but the special services each have an important place.
Civic & Remembrance Services
Holy Trinity is the town centre church, & it's the oldest church in the area by a considerable way. So it has developed something of a civic role. Two particular services build on this.
In May we hold the Civic Service, at 10.00am on the 3rd Sunday. The town's MP & councillors attend, along with other civic dignitaries & representatives of local organisations. We give thanks for our life here, & look to build the town's sense of community.
In November we welcome the local branch of the British Legion to our Remembrance Service - as well as our MP & others. This is the 2nd Sunday of the month, & the service start time is delayed until 10.45am. The church is (literally) full, with over 700 people in attendance as we remember the cost of war.
As we move through the church season there are certain seasons when extra services take place. We can't mention them all, but here are the most notable ...
Advent & Christmas
We start the build-up to Christmas with a Christingle Service. It's aimed at families, & happens at 4.00pm on the 1st Sunday in December. We start in the Trinity Centre where we make Christingles, & then go across to church where we light our Christingles in a short service.
On the 2nd Sunday in December we have a Toy Service at 10.00am. It's an all-age/parade service, & we ask people to bring along some new or very good quality used toys which we can pass on as gifts to a local charity working with children.
Later in the month we our evening service is a traditional Service of Lessons & Carols, led by our choir. We start at 6.30pm, & sing to candlelight - followed by mulled wine & mince pies in the Trinity Centre.
At 3.30pm on Christmas Eve we have a Crib Service. It's always very well attended, especially by young families, as we tell the nativity story involving the children as much as possible.
Our Christmas celebration is crowned with two communion services. The first starts at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve; the second is at 10am on Christmas Day itself. By that time the clergy & choir are usually ready for a break!
Lent & Easter
Lent starts with two communion services on Ash Wednesday. One is at 10.30am in the Vesey chapel, the other at 7.30pm which we host in rotation with our fellow cluster churches. At both people are able to receive ashes on their foreheads.
Sundays in Lent have a praticular flavour as we move towards the events of Good Friday & Easter Day, but we take a break on the 4th Sunday of Lent for Mothering Sunday - one of our all-age/parade services.
On Maundy Thursday evening we have communion at 7.30pm, which is followed immediately by 'stripping the sanctuary'. All clothes & decorative items are removed from around the altar as we move to the darkest moment of the Christian year ...
Good Friday starts with a 10.00am service, where we are joined by our ecumenical partners - we hear of Jesus' arrest, trial & crucifixion. In the late morning we have a children's activity focused on the same events; & at 2.00pm comes an hour of meditation.
All is quiet in church then until Easter morning when our morning services take on a particularly joyful tone, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus - the victory of life over death.
Harvest & All Saints
Harvest Thanksgiving happens at the main service on the 2nd Sunday of October. We have the uniformed groups with us, & ask everyone to bring some item of food - in a carton, a tin or fresh - which we later give to a centre for the homeless - St Basil's in Birmingham.
Around the end of October, in the last couple of years we've tried to have a Sunday afternoon (4.00pm) time for families - craft, food, singing & prayers - as an antidote to the growing practice of 'trick or treat'.
Around this time it is All Saints Day - & on that Sunday our evening service is a Commemoration of those who have died in the previous 12 months. We read the names of those people the clergy have taken funerals for (as well as any others we asked to include) & invite their families along.