St Nicolas' Church Re-Opens for Public Worship
Following Government advice that churches may open for public worship where it is safe to do so, the Parochial Church Council took the decision on 16th July to reopen St Nicolas' within certain limitations for one service a week on Sunday mornings. The full details of what to expect and how to book your place can be found by clicking the blue button. Please note that, for the time being, only 30 places are available at each service and they must be booked with the Parish Office by 12.00 noon on the previous Friday.
On 24th July, the Church of England published updated guidance regarding the use of face masks in church. The expectation is that we will comply just as shops and other public spaces do.
'We strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from Coronavirus (COVID-19) and that they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing.'
We will have a supply of single use masks available in church and would ask that you take them home with your service sheet.
Meanwhile, we continue to offer Sunday worship online throughout the Summer for those who are unable to come to church, either for health reasons or because of the limit on places at St Nicolas'.
You can watch the highlights of our first Sunday morning service since March, held on 19th July 2020, by clicking here.
9.00 am Holy Communion (BCP)
10.30 am Holy Communion
(except 2nd Sunday of the month, which is an All-Age Service)
SUNDAY EVENINGS AT 6.00 PM
1st Sunday of the Month
Holy Communion & Healing
4th & 5th Sundays
1st Sunday of the Month
10.30 am Holy Communion
10.30 am Joint Service at either St Nicolas' or Hawkesley Churches
10.30 am Holy Communion
10.30 am All-Age Worship
What To Expect
"What happens at a church service? How long does it last? Can I sit quietly and listen or do I have to take part? Are children welcome? Does it matter if they make a noise? Do I have to sing? Will I understand what's going on? "
If you have questions about what to expect when you visit us, read on.
Make Yourself At Home
You'll find all three of our churches friendly and welcoming. If you're unfamiliar with Christian worship, there's no need to feel apprehensive. There's a place for everybody, including those who prefer to sit quietly and listen. This is your church and we want you to feel comfortable when you're here.
If you're the gregarious type, then of course there are opportunities to have a chat over tea or coffee after a morning service or to play a more active role. If you prefer, you can slip away at the end.
The average act of worship lasts about an hour. Children are welcome, however small or noisy, and we provide a safe play area for the very young at most services. No-one is going frown at you if your child runs around or starts crying!
On most occasions, a service booklet will be provided. It will help you to understand what is happening and when, and it will provide the congregation with words to say or sing at certain points. You need never feel lost or out of your depth and you do not have to join in.
And the dress code? We don't really have one, but "smart casual" comes close. The days of "Sunday best" are over.
"Do this in remembrance of me" said Jesus. For centuries, the Jews had gathered at Passover to share a meal designed to remind them that it was God who released them from slavery in Egypt and led them to the Promised Land.
Hours before He was executed, Jesus shared the Passover meal with his closest followers. But this time, with a few words and gestures, He would change it forever. In His hands, the Jewish celebration of rescue and freedom would take on deeper significance. It became the event which connects his followers to the meaning and the power of His death and resurrection. Since the earliest days of Christian history, Holy Communion, also known as the Eucharist, has been the central act of worship of the church. Many of our services take this form.
The main elements of a Communion service are these:
we greet each other in Jesus' name
we confess our sins and are assured of God's forgiveness
we listen and respond to readings from the Bible
we listen to a sermon which explores those readings
we pray for the world, the church and each other
we exchange the Peace, a gesture of reconciliation
the priest prepares the table
the priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer
the priest breaks the bread
the priest blesses the bread and wine
we share the bread and wine amongst us
we depart with God's blessing
The 9.00 am service at St Nicolas' Church follows the Holy Communion service in the 16th century Book of Common Prayer and there is no singing. The 10.30 am service at all three churches is in contemporary language and is punctuated by singing, usually accompanied on the organ or piano. The 6.00 pm service at St Nicolas' always includes hymns, songs or chants, whatever the style of the service.
Services of the Word
Not all services in the Church of England are Holy Communion services. A Service of the Word has a slightly different focus. The emphasis is on hearing the Bible read, on listening to a sermon, on singing and on prayer. As the title suggests, words play a central part.
Where a service is listed here as Morning Worship or All-Age Worship, this is the style of service you can expect.
A service of All-Age Worship will also give a prominent role to children and the service will be designed with them (and their attention span) in mind.
A service of Holy Communion has to be presided over by a priest. A Service of the Word can be led by anyone with appropriate training including Readers and Lay Ministers.
Three out of our four variants of Evening Worship are also Services of the Word, though they vary greatly in style. See below for details of evening services at St Nicolas' Church.
The style of the 6.00 pm service at St Nicolas' Church varies Sunday by Sunday.
1. Taizé Prayer
Silence, simplicity, singing. An unhurried pace, time to reflect, ancient icons, dimmed lighting and candles. Brief Bible readings, no sermon, no distractions; in fact, as few words as possible. Based on the worship of the Taizé Community, an international, ecumenical monastery in France.
2. Holy Communion & Prayer for Healing
A quiet, reflective Communion Service at which we also offer the ancient rites of Anointing with Oil and the Laying on of Hands for healing. A peaceful, unthreatening opportunity to explore God's invitation to wholeness of body, mind and spirit.
Compline has its origins in the life of the early monasteries, probably as far back as the 6th century. It is a simple, beautiful service designed to lead us into silence and contemplation at the end of the day. Parts of the service are chanted, in monastic fashion, to ancient plainsong melodies.
4 & 5. Evening Prayer
A service originally created by Thomas Cranmer in the 16th century from the sevenfold monastic cycle of prayer by combining the offices of Vespers and Compline. Now in contemporary language, it includes Bible readings, songs and a sermon or reflection on the Biblical text.