Are you curious about what to expect if you come to one of our services? We’ll try to explain what happens below, but we’d love you to come along and find out for yourself…
Most of our Sunday morning services (as well as our regular Thursday morning services at Holy Trinity) are services of Holy Communion. At this service we remember Jesus’ last meal with his friends as we celebrate the fact that we are part of a Christian ‘family’ or ‘community’.
After a welcome, we begin by remembering the ways in which we all often fail to live the kind of lives we’d hope to live and by saying sorry for these. (We do this communally. Don’t worry, you will never be asked to speak individually or about yourself…) We are reminded that God loves us unconditionally and that we are forgiven for anything we may have done wrong.
We then listen to readings from the Bible and a sermon which usually explains how one or more of the readings relates to our lives here and now. There are some prayers, and then we turn to those around us and offer them a sign of peace (in non-Covid times, we might shake hands or say ‘Peace be with you’). By doing this, we show emphasise that sense of being part of one community, with no animosity between us, before we approach Jesus’s table.
In the next part of the service, we remember Jesus’s last meal with his friends. The priest takes and blesses bread and wine and offers them to those who are gathered. (Currently, we are only receiving the bread because of Covid restrictions.) Anyone who is baptised in any Christian denomination is welcome to receive communion with us. Alternatively, keep your hands by your sides when you come up for communion and the priest will give you a blessing instead. If you do not feel ready to come up for communion you can simply stay in your seat. No-one will ask you to do anything you are not comfortable with.
After a prayer of thanks for what we have received, there is a final blessing, and then we share a cup of tea or coffee together.
In non-Covid times, our Sunday services are punctuated with hymns which we sing together. The Thursday morning service is a spoken service only. Currently, we are not singing at Holy Trinity, but there is music played through the sound system. At St Mary’s and St Michael’s we have returned to singing some hymns.
The All-Age Holy Communion service, which takes place at Holy Trinity on the first Sunday of every month, is similar to the above, but is designed to be accessible to people of all ages and may be more interactive.
Some of our services do not involve communion. These services involve hymns, Bible readings, a sermon, and prayers. At St Mary-le-Ghyll the service of Morning Prayer uses traditional language, while the Service of the Word at St Michael’s Bracewell uses contemporary language.