We come to St. Margaret’s to celebrate God’s love, for each one of us all, by sharing in services together. Our worship is at the heart of our church life, as it expresses what we believe and the Christian life we live, and everyone is welcome to us at all of our services.
Our main service each Sunday is our 10am Eucharist. Here we tell you what is likely to happen:
Upon entering the church, you are welcomed by a Church Warden and then by ‘sidesmen and women’, who will give you a hymn book, a leaflet setting out the order of the service, and a pew leaflet (with information for the week) to be taken home. You may sit anywhere you wish in the nave – the main body of the church – and those with children will see we have a “Noah’s Ark” in the north aisle. This is an enclosed area with a good supply of toys where small children can play whilst their parents listen to and take part in the service. We also have play bags for various ages with a variety of material for keeping youngsters interested during the service.
After any notices and the legal pronouncements of any weddings that will be taking place within the next few weeks, the first hymn is announced, during which a procession will move up the aisle – led by a crucifer (who carries the Cross), two acolytes (each carrying a candle), followed by the choir, then the clergy who are taking part and finally the priest who is presiding over the service. The service then follows the order shown in the leaflet.
During the second hymn (known as the gradual), the crucifer and acolytes, with the person who is to read the Gospel process into the nave with the Bible. In the Gospel, (which means good news) we hear the words of Jesus being read, so we turn to face the person reading the Gospel.
The sermon then follows, usually given from the pulpit. The sermon may explain the meaning of the Bible readings and how they relate to our lives, or look at another aspect of our faith or our worship. After this we all join in a statement of our faith, the wording of which is in the service leaflet. Everyone then sits or kneels for prayers which are led by a different member of the congregation each week. These are known as prayers of intercession when we pray for the Church, the world, our local community and those in special need of prayers, also praying for those who have died and those who mourn them.
Following this we remember Christ’s words – “My peace I leave with you” – by sharing the peace with each other, by shaking hands and saying “Peace be with you”. Many people move round the church to share the peace with special friends, visitors, or those on their own.
During the next hymn a collection is taken (for the work of the church), this being taken up to the high altar together with the bread and the wine. This represents our thank offering to God who has given us all we have. The service then moves to the solemn moment of the Eucharist. The Presiding Clergy and Deacon move to the High Altar, the bread and the wine are consecrated, and the communion is then shared with the whole congregation who go up as directed by the stewards – either to the high altar, or to the side chapel which doesn’t involve any steps! If you do not wish to receive communion, you can go up for a blessing, keeping your hands by your sides so the Priest knows this is your intention. Having received communion first, the choir moves to sing an anthem and the communion hymn (which is sung by everyone, seated)
The service ends with a hymn, a blessing – and a procession of Cross, candles, choir and clergy to the back of the church while the congregation remains standing.
St. Margaret’s has a SATB, robed choir who lead the singing. In addition to the hymns, some of the service is also sung, however music is available for those who would find this helpful.
The clergy greet people as they leave the church – and the service is followed by coffee in the Church Centre to which all are welcome
Too much to take in if you have not been before? Do just come and join us and share the worship and fellowship. You are welcome whoever you are, and wherever you are on your spiritual journey. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to do or where to find your place in the book, someone will always help you. People have worshipped continually on the site of St. Margaret’s for over 700 years so a lot of changes have taken place and will no doubt continue to do so.