Parish Activities

Church at home

Church is all about being a community- and it’s not easy to make friends during a once a week Sunday service.

We encourage everyone who wants to get more involved in our church family to join a group that meets in the homes of church members- we call them ‘cell groups’. These usually run on a fortnightly basis, and involve what’s known as the four Ws:

  • Welcome
  • Worship
  • Word and
  • Witness

So groups catch up on what’s been going on in their lives, spend some time in prayer and read and discuss different parts of the Bible. They also consider how they can help each other live out their faith in Jesus in their day to day lives.

From time to time we will run courses that cover different aspects of our shared faith- for example, a Lent course. These courses are run during the week, daytime and evening, and bring the church together away from Sunday worship.

Our online presence

Is the church online?

Yes it is. A silver lining to the Covid cloud was that during lockdown, it was ‘move on line or shut down most activities’. We chose to move online and in doing so, develops various skills and activities we’d never had before.

What we had to do for Covid we now choose to do,  both for the community and for the climate.

For the climate.

When a little thing is done by a lot of people, it can have quite a big impact. Car journeys produce CO2, and we can cut down on our own emissions if we meet on line rather than in person. Not all our meetings are suitable for cyberspace, but some are, so meeting via online platforms is something we intend to keep doing.

For the Community.

Research suggests that people can be wary of entering a church building for the first time, especially if church going isn’t a regular practice. But they are much more comfortable about checking out a church online.

We hold online prayer times Monday to Thursday and Saturday at 9 am via Facebook; we broadcast our 9 am Sunday Service at St Thomas live via Facebook.

Going forward, we are likely to run explorer groups such as Alpha in an online environment and to use the likes of Zoom to hold other church gatherings and meetings.

Online activity will not replace our church’s life together; but it will certainly enhance it, and make our churches more accessible to the wider community.

Our Worship

Our regular worship services take place on Sunday: there are services at 9 am and 10.45 am in St Thomas, 11 am at St Lawrence.

The 9 am service at St Thomas and the 11 am at St Lawrence are usually services of Holy Communion, following the pattern laid out in the Anglican book of Common Worship.

Worship at 10.45am is more varied.

Communion services are less formal and once a month we hold Cafe Church, a shorter and simpler service, where we sit at tables rather than in rows, and there is coffee and cake in abundance! This is the ideal service for those exploring what church is all about.

Once a month we have a Sunday Supper, during which members of the congregation share their life journeys. In this informal setting we get to know each other better and learn about what our common faith means to us.

During the working week, we run online prayers through our Facebook page, using the Daily Office of the Church of England. Anyone can take part, and we encourage participants to post their own prayers during the service. Again, this is a good way for people new to our churches to get to know something about how we tick.

In addition to our regular times of worship and prayer, we run special services that seek to engage our wider community. Many of these take place in or around Christmas and Easter; we also have a memorial services in the Spring, for those who want to remember loved ones they have lost. We make a point of inviting families for whom we have taken funeral services in the year before the memorial service.

If you want to know more about the spiritual life of the parish, contact Rev Canon Gordon McGuinness () or Rev Gill Foster ().