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A few practicalities

If you’ve not been to Church for some time (or indeed, ever) and feel a bit daunted, don’t worry, here is a short guide for people new to St. Oswalds and our sister churches. We are an inclusive collection of churches who embrace the ministry of women, fight for justice and the inclusion of all people in faith, regardless of sexual orientation, social background or lifestyle, seeking to provide a welcome, just as Christ did for all.

 

Each of our churches are different, but what makes them the same is that each strives to be a friendly community and we do our best to recognise and welcome all first-time visitors, but if we don’t manage as well as we’d like, say ‘hello’ to someone over a coffee at the end of the service. In small churches it can be hard to stay anonymous but if you are looking for space to be on your own we will try to respect that. Perhaps at the end of the service you will take the opportunity to introduce yourself once you’ve (hopefully) established that we are a reasonable bunch of people after all.

If you'd like to have an idea of what happens in St. Oswalds - on Sundays, and during weddings or baptisms - you can find some short videos here.

 

Structure of Sunday Services

Our services come in a variety of levels of formality but generally follow a familiar structure. We usually follow the pattern of a Church of England Communion service (sometimes called Eucharist or the Mass) where the bread and wine are shared, or a service of Scripture and Prayers led by members of the Congregation. If they are celebrating the Communion, the Priest always wears special robes during the service.

All of our main Sunday services use modern language so don’t expect to find Thees or Thous! However, for those who enjoy the book of Common Prayer you'll find our 8am Holy Communion and 6.30pm Sung Evensong to be splendid examples of traditional liturgy.

When you come in to S. Oswald’s, you will be given some bits of paper: a Service Booklet which contains prayers, some of which the leader (usually the vicar) says and some in bold that we say together. There is a weekly sheet which contains the prayers and readings for this specific week and (on the other side) any notices, a timetable of the services for this week and any news that needs to be shared. You might also be given a hymn book.

 

Communion/Eucharist/Mass

(It doesn’t really matter what you call it)

Communion is where churches share bread and wine in the way that Jesus did with his disciples nearly 2000 years ago. This is usually towards the end of the service after the priest has led the congregation in prayer. The congregation usually come to a rail at the front of the church to receive the bread and wine and take it by putting their hands out. In some of our churches, some like to kneel, some people like to stand - please do what seems natural to you. There is no right or wrong, it’s up to you.

If you don’t feel comfortable taking communion, you are still more than welcome to come forward. If you bring a service sheet with you, the priest will pray for God’s blessing to be on you. They usually place their hands on people’s head when they do this.

Click here to see a video of Communion at St. Oswald's.

 

Space for Prayer

Our church is open during (roughly) daylight hours so that you can come in, have a little peace and quiet with God, light a candle and say a prayer.

 

Everything Changes – Christmas, Easter and…. lots of other times

We like to follow the pattern of the church year so there are lots of times for celebration or preparation. This will often come with a change of colour to the furnishings in the church and different things happening during the service. It isn’t just Christmas Day or Easter Sunday when this happens so if you happen to venture into a festival, all sorts can happen. Take it as it comes - you have as much clue about what is going on as anyone else in the congregation!

 

Collection

A collection is taken in every service of worship. Our churches have an impact upon the local area through community action. This is only possible because the people who worship here care so much about our communities that they generously give to this work. It would be fantastic if you could give generously to this work as it is only through our giving that it is able to continue. However, if you do not wish to contribute, just let the plate pass by. Many members arrange their giving via standing orders, so a significant proportion of the congregation will not be putting anything in the bag or put a little giving card in. No-one will think anything of it if you don’t contribute.

 

Music

Our draws upon a wide variety of different styles varying from traditional hymns to more modern worship songs. In St Oswald's we are very proud of our musical tradition and our robed choir. The congregation has a wide range of musical ability—so if you can’t sing or don’t know the tune, don’t worry, you won’t be the only one! If however you can hold a note, why not consider joining our choir - you'll be helping to make our worship beautiful, and it's a ready-made circle of friends!

 

Sermons

The bible is at the heart of the faith of our communities and exploring it together is an important part of worship. They are designed for people at all stages of their faith journeys.

If something interests you and you want to ask a question, or want a bit more depth then either grab Duncan over coffee or (if he isn’t there) text or phone (01332 343825) or email him (duncan.ballard@me.com). He likes to do this stuff!

 

Children

There are a small number of children who regularly attend worship in our church. Children are always welcome. We have an area for small children to play with a range of activities.

Children make noise and ask questions. That’s ok – so does the vicar!

 

Disabled facilities

God’s love is an open offer to everyone and so we make every effect to be accessible to everyone. There is good access for wheelchair users and disabled toilet facilities at St. Oswald's, together with a loop system is fitted for people with hearing-aids. We can produce braille or large print, but we'd appreciate it if you could give us a little notice if you require this. All our services are open to all, and they often have worshippers with special needs including learning difficulties and autism. Everyone is welcome. If you have any questions or require support during your visit, please just ask.


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