We appreciate that coming to church for the first time – or even to a new church – can be a daunting experience. Some of our gatherings are quite big, and we know it’s easy to feel lost.
All of us were new here at some time, and we’d like to reassure you that you will be very welcome and that there is no need to feel awkward or embarrassed.
Below are some Frequently asked questions
What is church?
Church is simply a group of people gathering to do a few things.
The main thing is to draw close to God in prayers, songs and community.
We do this in different styles, because we are different kinds of people - some are noisy, some are quiet, some are crowded, some are small.
We also learn about being a Christian through some teaching from the Bible.
Sometimes we share bread and wine (called “Communion”) to remember Jesus’ death. (Any baptized person can share in this, of any age or background).
And we pray for each other - asking God’s spirit to bring healing and wholeness.
Our services on a Sunday are easy to follow and about 75 minutes long - words are either in books or on a screen. If you’re not sure what to do during the service just follow everyone else or, if you prefer, you can just remain seated throughout. No-one will be offended.
What about children?
We have groups for children - they stay in for the first part, and then go out. All our leaders are trained and CRB checked. We love having lots of children at St Mark’s! If you want, your child can stay with you, and we have a special crèche room.
When you first arrive, you will be greeted by a welcomer, who can answer any questions, give you any materials you want or need, and make you feel at home. We have a special welcome pack we can give you.
You can sit where you like - there are just a couple of places we reserve for those with special physical needs. If you are hard of hearing there is a loop, and if you are hard of seeing, we have large print versions of words and songs in the service.
We take a collection during services - people give money to build and support the church community - but if you are a visitor or new, please don’t feel you have to give anything. That would make us feel terrible!
Tea and Coffee is usually served after services, and we would be delighted if you could join us. Again, however, this is entirely up to you. The vicar will usually be at the door to say goodbye as you leave. Do take a moment to introduce yourself. Don’t worry - he doesn’t bite, and you won’t be pressured into telling us all about yourself or “signing up” for anything - we just like to be able to say hello and to know who has been with us on a Sunday!
Finally, we have toilet and baby-changing facilities and these are suitable for use by disabled people.
We would be delighted to help in any way we can. You may decide that this is the spiritual home for you, but we know there is no perfect Christian community - only God is perfect. You will find broken people here (maybe just like yourself), and people who come from very different backgrounds.
If you have any concerns about coming to St Mark’s, please do ring the vicar, Guy, on 01423 504160 or Cathy in our church office details above.