The 10.30 Eucharist at St Margaret’s is the central service of the week.
When you arrive in the church porch, you will normally be greeted by someone (a ‘sidesperson’) who will give you the books and leaflets used in the service. The white folded A4 sheet gives an outline of the service and news for the coming weeks. They can also advise you about facilities for children.
Go through the door on the right. The church may be relatively empty when you enter – some of us tend to arrive late! There are no seats that ‘belong’ to anyone, so you are unlikely to find yourself occupying one that someone thinks is ‘theirs’. However, if there is a baptism you may find some rows of seats reserved.
The service is formal in the sense of being ceremonial, but not in the sense of being stiff or stuffy. We follow an outline of worship that goes back to the early times of the Christian church. The various formalities are there to highlight the important parts of worship, such as the reading of the Gospel and the preparation and offering of the Communion. Many of the prayers and praises in the service are set to music.
At the start, the priest will come out and greet everyone, and then the ‘altar party’ (servers and priest) and choir will enter in procession and take their places round the altar in the centre. You can follow the service in the service leaflets and watch what everyone does.
Nobody is bothered by unexpected activity. The noise and kerfuffle of children is perfectly OK. The only time when you are likely to interact with neighbours is the Sharing of the Peace, when most people shake hands with those standing nearest to them.
If there is a baptism, the priest, servers, and choir process to the font (at the back near the door) and everyone else gathers round it, or turns to face it. We request that photography be limited to the moment of baptism and not used during the other parts of the service.
When it’s time for Communion, the choir lines up first. At this point most of the congregation sits down. When the choir have gone, the congregation goes up in two queues, lining up at the step from right to left. If you are a communicating member of a church, you are welcome to receive communion. If you don’t wish to receive, please come up and be blessed – keep your hands at your sides to show that you aren’t taking communion.
We like it when our visitors stay after the service for tea or coffee and a chat, but no one minds if you want to go straight off. If you would like to join our congregation, do talk to the priest or any member of the congregation. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved: the Choir is an obvious one. There are also weekday activities. Tell us what you would like to do and we will try to accommodate you!