FAQs about attending services in church
Is there somewhere for me to park?
There is a small public car park in Church Lane. There is also onstreet parking there. Traffic Wardens work on Sundays in this street, so do buy a parking ticket. N.B. The machine in the car park and the machine for onstreet parking are 2 different companies – so be sure to buy your ticket from the right machine.
What will happen when I arrive at church on a Sunday?
When you come in through the main door, a Welcomer will greet you and give you anything you need for the service. There are usually quite a few people standing chatting near the main door, so we expect that quite a few people will say ‘Hello’ – but no-one will hassle you or invade your privacy or ask you too many questions!! You will be welcomed, but not swamped with people or be made to feel uncomfortable.
Where do I sit when I get into the church?
There are pews across three parts of the church – one in the middle and one in each of the two outside aisles. You can sit anywhere you want – there aren’t any reserved pews. If you want to get a good view of all that’s happening during the service, you would be better off sitting in the middle part of the church.
Is there disabled access into the church?
Yes. There is a Ramp Entrance round to the left of the church, behind the bell tower. Either go directly there or go to the main door and ask someone to make sure that it is unlocked for you.
How early should I get to church before a service?
We start fairly promptly (8.00am and 9.15am), so you could get there about 10 minutes before the start of the service to make sure that you have found somewhere to sit and you are comfortable.
Welcome and Support:
How many people come to the services?
At the 8.00am service, we get between 25-40 people. At the 9.15am service, we get about 60 adults and 10 children.
What is the age range of people who attend?
Probably 60% of our church family is aged 35-55. 15% is aged under 12. 20% is aged 55-75. 5% are 75+
How do you support those with Additional Needs?
We have a p/t Children and Families Worker who is highly skilled and proactive in supporting those with Additional Needs. We do ensure that Additional Needs members of our church family are as involved as they want to be – doing Bible readings etc. We work really hard in this aspect of family life. We still have a long way to go, of course, but it is a priority for us.
Is there a hearing loop?
Are there toilets in church?
Yes. There are two Access toilets in the church, both with baby-changing facilities.
How ethnically diverse is St. Andrew’s?
We are reasonably representative of the local community. As well as White British members of the church family, we comprise Afro-Caribbean, Malaysian, Asian, Turkish and Greek members too.
Are you welcoming to the LGBT+ community?
Absolutely! We are completely non-judgemental and, we hope, a very welcoming and open church family for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.
Are both men and women in leadership?
Yes. We currently have a male Vicar, a female p/t Children and Families Worker, 1 female Warden, 2 male Wardens, and an equal mix of male and female volunteers.
Will I be asked to do anything during the service?
No. No-one will embarrass you in any way or ask you to do something! You will be invited, along with everyone else, to take Holy Communion. If you choose to do so, you will be directed how to do that. But you are just as welcome to remain in your pew and just enjoy a time of quiet and watch what is going on around you. Whatever you want to do to be comfortable is OK with us!
Do I have to give money to come to church?
No. You are under no obligation to give any money to the church. No financial collection is taken during the service. You can give by text or by using the Contactless Terminal at the back of the church if you want to – but this is entirely voluntary. The church does cost £150,000 per year to run – and we have to raise that entirely ourselves as a church family – so we are heavily reliant on local financial support! But there is no obligation for you to give…
Is there a dress code at church?
As long as you have clothes on, that’s OK with us! Whatever you feel comfortable wearing is fine with everyone. We are fairly casual as a church in terms of dress code, so please don’t feel that you have to wear your ‘Sunday best’.
How long do services last?
The 8.00am service lasts about 45mins (there are no hymns). The 9.15am service lasts about 60mins (there are hymns sung during this service).
What do you do during Sunday services?
The 8.00am service is a traditional service, pretty quiet, without hymns. It is read ‘straight from the book’, with two Bible readings, a sermon, and Holy Communion (wafers and wine – which children are welcome to receive). The 9.15am service is a little less formal. We have hymns, Bible readings, a sermon, prayers and Holy Communion (wafers and wine – which children are welcome to receive).
What is the music like?
We have an excellent organist and a choir, so we do draw on ‘traditional church music’ quite a lot, through hymns and anthems.
Can I vape or smoke in church?
No. The church is a No-Smoking, No-Vaping environment.
Can I bring food or a drink into church?
If you want to bring a coffee in with you, then that is fine. However, we would probably discourage food (though not prohibit it) because it may be disconcerting to others.
I go to another church as well. Can I still participate at St. Andrew’s?
Yes. We have Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox Christians regularly worshipping with us. You do not have to leave your other church to be a part of this church family. You are welcome to ‘dip in and dip out’ as best works for you.
What version of the Bible do you use?
Usually, we use the New Revised Standard Version. But we also use the Good News Bible sometimes too.
Children at church:
Are children welcome to all services?
Yes, children are welcome to all the Sunday services. However, the 8.00am service is a very quiet service and it is unlikely that your child would enjoy it very much! You are better off bringing your children to the 9.15am service.
What if my child is noisy?
We have a Quiet Corner at the back of church with some books and soft toys, so you could take your child over there if you think they are being too noisy. On most Sundays, our p/t Children and Families Worker, Kate Ladd, is in the corner to welcome the children. So you can leave your child with her and go back to your pew if you want to – whatever works for you…
Are there specific services for children?
We have a very interactive service called Time for God on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month during term-time. This is at 4.00pm and last about an hour. There are arts and crafts, songs, prayers, and food afterwards. There is also an optional Holy Communion afterwards (that lasts about 10 mins) which the children help lead (not everyone stays for that, which is fine). Time for God (TFG) normally has about 35 children and 40 adults attending. It is very relaxed and is ideal for children aged 0-11 years old.
What do you offer for babies and toddlers?
The Children’s Corner at the back is there for you on a Sunday. We are currently finalising the designs on a much larger space in the church building for Children. Hopefully that will be complete by Autumn 2023.
What do you offer for teenagers?
At the current time, we do not have a specific ministry for teenagers. However, our Bellringing Team has quite a few teenagers in it – so if that is of interest, please email Rev Dr Steve.
Can visitors take Holy Communion?
Yes. Our policy is that anyone who is baptised can receive Holy Communion. You do not need to be Confirmed. We welcome everyone to receive, regardless of your denomination or church background.
Can children take Holy Communion?
Yes. All baptised children can receive either the wafer and wine, or wafer only. It is up to the parent/carer to make that decision.
I have a gluten allergy. Can I still receive Holy Communion?
Yes. We have gluten-free wafers. Please just ask for a gluten-free wafer when you come to receive.
I don’t drink alcohol. Can I still receive Holy Communion?
Yes you can. It may be best to receive the wafer only because the ‘wine’ is a sherry. However, we do have an option to dip the wafer in the wine for those who wish to (about 50% of the congregation), so if you are OK with dipping into a tiny bit of alcoholic wine, you can do that.
I can’t walk to the altar very easily. Can I still receive Holy Communion?
Yes. Let one of the Stewards know when you arrive. Then, as we start the distribution, someone will come to you in your seat to give you bread and wine.
How do I receive Holy Communion?
Along with everyone else, you will queue down the centre aisle. The priest will be in front of you to give you the wafer. You can eat it there and return to your seat via a side aisle if you want to. But if you want to receive wine, there are two options. 1) Hold on to your wafer, go to the chalice assistant on the right and dip your wafer before eating it or 2) eat your wafer first, then go to the chalice assistant on the left to take a sip of wine and then return to your seat via the side aisle. It may sound a bit confusing – but don’t worry! Just watch how others do it and follow them…
Do you have a Facebook Page?
Yes. We have a very active Facebook community – approximately 680 members – and there are posts daily. You can join the group here.
Are you on Twitter?
Yes. You can follow us here.
Do you Podcast?
Yes. We release podcasts about once per fortnight. We provide these in two language versions: English and Esperanto. They are available on this website, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Buzzsprout
Are you on You Tube?
We are! You can subscribe to our Channel by searching for ‘Faith in a Busy World’. But click here to link directly.
Growing with God:
How do I join the church?
You don’t need to be a member of the church to participate and be part of the family. Everyone is welcome. However, we do have something called the Electoral Roll, which is a list of those who want to register with us that they are regular attenders and participants. Being on the Electoral Roll enables you to vote at the AGM and take on leadership positions in the church. So, when you have decided that St. Andrew’s is somewhere that you feel at home, please speak to the Vicar or a Church Warden about coming on the Electoral Roll.
How can I join a group?
There are different groups that meet at St. Andrew’s. The best thing to do is talk to Rev Dr Steve, or e-mail him, and he can put you in touch with the relevant person for a further conversation.
What denomination is St. Andrew’s?
We are Church of England, which is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
What spiritual growth opportunities are there for adults?
We have a Bible Study Group that meets weekly via Zoom We have occasional short courses throughout the year, which are advertised in advance. We also have plenty of opportunities to volunteer for ministry at the church. Again, speak to Rev Dr Steve for more information, or e-mail him.
Will the Vicar try to tell me what to think, or believe, or how to vote?
No! At St. Andrew’s, we recognize that everyone is on their own spiritual journey and needs to find their own way to God. The role of the Vicar is to help facilitate your journey by, hopefully, asking the right questions for you to think about. The Vicar will never tell you what to believe – and certainly won’t tell you how to vote!
Do you have other services during the week?
Yes, we have short services most days, except Saturdays. We have a Holy Communion Service in-building on a Wednesday at 12.00pm (other than when the Vicar is on holiday) and 11 online services per week. Check this website for more details.
Who do I contact if I want to know more in general?
Contact the Vicar, Rev Dr Steve, by e-mail and he can point you in the right direction. Alternatively, check out the ‘Contact us’ page on this website
Who do I contact if I want to know more about Families and Children?
Our p/t Children & Families Worker is Kate Ladd. You can contact her by email.