For First Timers

Who comes to St. Mary’s? All kinds of people! Young and old, single parents, people with special needs, people who’ve always come, people who’ve only recently started coming… Everyone is welcome. This is your church. Why not look at our meet the people page?
What books do I need? When you come into the church, someone will greet you and offer you all the books and sheets you will need. For many services, we use a service sheet, a hymn book and a ‘link sheet’ which includes the notices and the prayers.
Where should I sit? Usually, you can sit wherever you like. In baptism services, please leave the front couple of rows free for parents and godparents of children being baptised. Find out more about baptisms.
What if my child is noisy? Don’t worry or feel embarrassed! We know that children are sometimes noisy. See our section on children elsewhere in this leaflet.
When do I stand, sit or kneel? Often, this will be indicated in the service sheet, or will be announced. Generally, we stand for hymns, and sit or kneel for prayers. If in doubt, just watch what other people are doing.
Am I expected to give money? Please do not feel under any obligation to give money. All money goes to the work of the church. St. Mary’s receives no money from the council or the government. We need to raise about £500 each week to keep the church going. This comes mainly from local people giving regularly and through fund-raising events.
What do I do at communion? You are welcome to receive communion if you are a communicant member of your own church (of any denomination). You are also welcome to come for a blessing (as are children). You can show this by keeping your hands folded or by your sides.
What happens after the service? Usually there are refreshments, either in the church porch or in the church hall. Please join us!
Are there toilets? Toilets are in the church hall, including one which is wheelchair accessible.
Can I take photographs at baptisms? You are welcome to take photographs after the service. Please don’t take photographs during a service.
How can I explore my faith further? If you’ve questions or issues that you’d like to explore, please speak to the vicar or any member of the congregation. We don’t promise to have all the answers. The Christian faith is always a journey – we would like to travel together with you.