We realise it can be pretty daunting walking into a church, especially for the first time! So if you’re new to us, or thinking about coming along, here’s what you might expect to find on a typical Sunday...
Our building doesn’t really look like a typical church, so you may have been past it before without realising what it is! It’s located on the High Street, next to Chase Terrace Park. If you come by car, you’re very welcome to park in the church car park, which is behind the church building & accessed via the road to the left of the building.
Our car park does fill up pretty quickly, so if it's full, feel free to use the Park car park on the right. Our main entrance is on the High Street, up some steps, although there is a sloped path if you’re in a wheelchair or pushing a buggy...
There will be a mix of people sitting down & standing around - the person leading the service will usually call people together to begin the service. Feel free to sit anywhere, either in the Worship Area or the Hall. A number of parents with younger children tend to gather on the right near the back as it's easier for younger ones to enjoy a bit of space, & for parents & carers to take them out to get changed if needed.
The 10am service is lively & informal, with around 120-180 people. There are no services sheets or hymn books - all the words you might need are shown on the TV screens, & everything else you'll you need to know will be explained or shown from the front. The service will get going with a word of welcome, usually a short prayer, & then the band - guitars, drums, keyboards & singers, maybe a violin or saxophone - normally lead us in 2 or 3 songs of praise.
We sing fairly modern songs at this service, with the odd hymn too. Don’t worry if you don’t know many of them - they’re usually easy to pick up, & all of the words will be shown on the TV screens. Some people may put their hands in the air or jump around a bit - feel free to be as static or lively as you like!
Children are very welcome to make lots of noise, wander around & play during the service, although most children have gone to their own groups by the time the talk starts after this opening block of songs. If you’ve got children with you between 3-11, they’ll be invited to join our ‘Sunday Stars’ groups which run during the service, or if you’ve children with you under 3, there is an unsupervised crèche area you can take them to - just on the right as you go back out into the foyer. You’re welcome to keep your children with you for the whole service, but they may well enjoy doing activities with others their own age better. Feel free to play it by ear, & ask any of the regulars if you’re unsure.
There is usually a talk or sermon from the front, which lasts about 20-25 minutes, & focuses on a particular theme or Bible passage. There will be an opportunity to pray - usually led from the front, although you may hear various people praying during the service at different times.
There is an opportunity to receive some prayer if you’d like to - again, if in doubt, just ask. Sometimes we share in Communion - you’ll be shown where to go if you’d like to receive the bread & wine or a prayer of blessing. Children are also welcome to receive the bread & juice at Communion if you’d like them to.
We enjoy singing, so there will be a few more songs. Bits of news & notices may be shared from the front, & after a final prayer, tea, coffee, cans, milk shakes & snacks are served in the Hall. Our services tend to finish around 11.15am, although people do stay to chat with each other long after that, so please feel free to join them.
We don't tend to hold a regular evening service, but there is a monthly Book Club which takes place at 6.30pm on the first Sunday of each - more information about that is on the Groups section of the website. All are welcome, & it's a fun, relaxed & friendly time to discuss & explore themes which have arisen from the book for that month (again, details of books are on the Book Club webpage).
And then for the latest info on services in general, do check out the latest Newsletter for details.
And that’s the gist of it! Obviously, all this simply explains some of the ‘mechanics’ of our Sunday services, but our hope is that through all this, you’ll experience & discover something of the love, the welcome & the good news of Jesus - the One who is at the heart of all we’re about at St John’s.
Any questions, do just ask on the day or get in touch with the Church Office - & we'll hopefully see you soon!