The first thing to say is that you will be very welcome!
The 10.30am service on Sunday is Parish Mass. This is the central act of worship for most Christians and in it we draw close to God and give thanks for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The focal point of the service is when the priest blesses the bread and wine which becomes the body and blood of Jesus and shares them with the members of the congregation. It’s a quiet moment of deep meaning when we can feel God’s presence around us and renew our faith and strength.
The service at St John’s is in the Catholic tradition of the Church of England so that means we start with a procession when the choir and clergy come into church lead by incense, a reminder that here on earth we participate in the worship of God in heaven. We enjoy singing at St John's so we’ll get the service off to a rousing start with a hymn.
The congregation will begin their preparations for communion by saying a prayer where they admit their sins and failings and the priest offers them God’s forgiveness.
A member of the congregation will give a reading from the Bible and then the priest (or deacon of there is one present) carries the Gospel Book from the altar and as we sing Alleluia we hear the day’s gospel reading. Then comes the sermon which will reflect on the readings or an issue in Christian life. The preaching at St John’s is challenging and often humorous.
After the sermon the congregation say the creed which is printed in the service books. The creed summarizes the main beliefs of the church. This is followed by the Intercessions, prayers for the church, the world, the local community and those in need, usually led by a member of the congregation. Then we share the ‘peace’ when people can shake hands with their neighbours, a reminder that together we are members of the Body of Christ..
The last part of the service is the communion itself. The bread and wine are brought up to the altar and are consecrated by God. People come up to the front to receive communion. Anyone who is baptized and receives communion in their own church is welcome to receive communion at St John’s. If you are not a communicant, the priest will invite you to receive a blessing.
Our worship at St John’s can be solemn, uplifting, comforting and challenging and is always friendly and warm. When we come to church at St John’s we are taking part in a tradition that stretches back through thousands of years but is still fresh and meaningful today.
Sunday is the time that we meet together as a community and we follow the service with coffee and a chance to chat. On Celebration Sundays we have a drink together.