Why go to church? By Liz McNaughton
Had you thought about coming to church but weren’t sure whether to or not? See below for some snippets of why people come to our local churches. We have four churches in our group (called a benefice) and they’re St Margaret’s (opposite the White Cliffs hotel), Westcliffe (opposite Wallets Court), East Langdon (just up from The Green) and West Langdon (in a field next to a farm just on the outskirts of the village of West Langdon).
What do people get from going to church?
“For fellowship”… “To have God in my life, to thank him and ask for his help”… “To be quiet and reflective”… “To have a sense of peace”… “To find a quiet space, to reflect and to re-focus my life”… “To sing and be part of a supporting community”… “To enjoy the friendliness and fellowship of a church family - it encourages me”… “Faith is like a journey and we are all at different stages. Being part of a church family means there are people I can turn to when life gets tough, and I can also offer help to others in turn”…
“Going to church helps me deal with the day to day challenges that life throws at you, it’s a source of comfort”
What are our church services like?
What we do is a mystery to some and the uncertainty of what the services are like might stop you coming. So, see the descriptions of our services below. If you’re new to church then start with our family service. This is most informal of all our services, lasts for just under an hour and uses contemporary words and music. If you want a service that is quiet and restful then try Evensong. Our Communion service offers something for everyone and a chance to share in the Communion which is the most special part of being a Christian.
Please come and give it a try. Everyone is welcome at any of our services!
The family service uses contemporary words and modern hymns. It’s shorter than the Communion service and usually lasts just under an hour. There is a talk rather than a more formal sermon and this is usually in an easy-to-digest format which both children and adults can relate to. This is a fun, informal service for everyone in the family both young and old. Refreshments are served afterwards.
The Saturday Service
Held on the first Saturday of the month it’s for young children and offers a time to do craft and have a time of fellowship at church for children and their parents. Very informal and just pop in if you can.
This service has hymns and prayers and the central part of the service is the Holy Communion. This is when those who are confirmed come to the altar rail to receive the bread and wine, and those who aren’t confirmed can come and receive a blessing. The bread and wine is served and eaten in commemoration of the sacrifice Jesus made in dying for the sins of humankind. There is also a sermon when the bible reading is explained and offers us a chance to think about its relevance for each of us.
This service provides a time to step aside from the day to day and to join our church community to sing, reflect and to think about God in our lives. We each bring the experiences, concerns and hopes that are uniquely our own. In company with each other, we pray for God's strength and guidance, and receive the assurance of God's love.
The Communion service is also called the Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist. This service lasts for an hour and we have refreshments afterwards.
Matins or Morning Prayer is a traditional service and uses the BCP (Book of Common Prayer). The service held monthly at St. Margaret’s follows a traditional pattern which includes verses that are sung (by the choir and congregation), along with prayers and hymns. It also includes a sermon. The main difference between Matins and the Communion service is that there is no Communion with bread and wine in Matins, but rather there is more congregational singing. This is a traditional service with familiar words used for over 400 years. It is quiet and reflective and peaceful.
This service lasts for an hour and we have refreshments afterwards.
Evensong or Evening Prayer is a traditional service and uses the BCP (Book of Common Prayer). The service held monthly at St. Peter’s follows a traditional pattern which again includes congregational singing, along with prayers and hymns and includes a sermon. It is conducted at the end of the day and offers a quiet way to end the day. This service lasts for around 45 mins.
Four Churches’ service
This is held on the fifth Sun of the month, and is a way for all four of our churches to meet up and have a service together. It has a simple easy-to-follow format with contemporary words, prayers and modern hymns. We move around our churches holding it at a different church each time.
And now for some terminology…
BCP is Book of Common Prayer and this goes right back to 1662 so the words are traditional. The wonder of these words is that you can feel part of all the congregations and groups of people that have said these same words for the last 400 years. It is special because it can take you aside from the day to day to a quiet reflective place.
‘The Peace’ is a part of the Communion Service and is a time when we can shake hands with others in the service to both welcome strangers as well as make a link with those we know well.
We look forward to seeing you at one of our services soon… and if you’d like someone to go with then contact Liz – details below:
Liz McNaughton tel 01304 851960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org