I’m interested in going to church, but don’t know where to start
Getting started with something new is never easy. But there are some things which could help:
–> You could go with someone who already goes. You could sit with them and they can help by explaining what goes on
–> If you’d rather go on your own, don’t arrive too early. 5 minutes before the start is ok, and try to sit near the back. That way you won’t feel so exposed
–> Ask if you can join others in a row
–> Never feel you can’t ask questions. When you’re new to something, it’s the best way to find out what’s going on
–> If you’re new to a church, it’s good to say you’ve never been before. Churches can be really friendly places and most folks are only too glad to help out.
Can I go to church if I don’t believe in God / I’m sceptical / I don’t know what I believe?
Yes of course you can! Though when you’re there you might find it more comfortable to sing along or even join in the prayers.
You can always talk to Rev Alan or Rev Catherine during the week to discuss what believing mean.
What should I wear to church?
It actually doesn’t matter, as long as you’re comfortable. And jeans are absolutely fine.
How long is a church service?
It varies. Family services and Morning Worship are about 3/4 hour, and communion’s about an hour.
There’s coffee, tea or squash afterwards; sometimes there’s a biscuit or even a piece of cake. This can be a good chance to meet people and introduce yourself. But don’t feel you have to stay if you don’t want to.
What are the different types of service?
Family Service is exactly what is says on the tin. The service is suitable for all, including children
Morning Worship is a service without communion, but still has hymns and prayers
Communion is the service where bread and wine are shared, and it’s a memorial of the death and resurrection of Jesus. To find out more about Communion or the ‘Eucharist’ see what the Church of England says about it.
How will I know what to do?
Everything’s in an easy to read booklet.
Can I bring my children and baby?
Please do! They’re welcome at all our services, but might feel more comfortable in one of our Family/All Age services. They’re are aimed at younger people, and the songs might be familiar from school.
Don’t worry if your child or baby gets restless; there are some books and toys you can show them.
And just in case you’re wondering, all our churches have toilets.
Do I have to sing hymns?
No you don’t have to sing. Just join in when you’re ready. And don’t worry if you can’t sing in tune
Should I go forward for communion?
You can take communion if you’ve been confirmed or if you’re a member of another denomination where you’d take communion. You can always ask the person who greets you what the procedure is. But if you haven’t been confirmed, you can still go forward – just keep your hands down by your sides, and the minister will give you a blessing instead.
Does it cost money to go to church / Do I have to put money in the collection?
No it doesn’t cost any money. Nor do you have to give any money to the collection. That said, you you might want to give a little; how much is up to you. And no-one will know what you’ve given.
Our churches are part of the national Parish Giving Scheme – which means people can give each month by direct debit if they want to. So you might notice that some people don’t put anything in the collection bag – that’s probably because they’ve chosen to give directly from their bank.
Can I go into the church at any time?
Sadly because of vandalism, Tuddenham and Witnesham are normally locked. Westerfield is open 10-4 Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from April to October. But if you want to visit any of the churches when they’re closed, please get in touch with one of our church wardens.
What is worship?
Churches are where people gather who believe in God, or who feel they’d like to believe in God. Given this, the belief is that God can forgive us for what we’ve done wrong, and help us on a different path.
For that reason people pray to God; give thanks to God; and ask God to hear their prayers and so on. Singing hymns and listening to a short sermon or talk (no more than 10 mins) is part of this. All this is worship.
In fact, worship doesn’t end when we leave church. The hope is that we try to live in a way that we think God wants us to.
Will people speak to me / welcome me even if I don’t know anyone?
Yes, we most definitely will, unless, of course, you’d prefer us not to!
Do I have to live in Westerfield, Tuddenham or Witnesham to go to a service there?
No. In fact several people come to our churches from other places including Ipswich and Kesgrave.
Many people who want to go to church actually visit several first to ‘test out’ each one. That’s especially useful if you’ve recently moved house, are living in a new area, or just feel you want a change from your current church.
Why do you talk about 3 churches?
That’s because this group of 3 parishes, which lie next to each other, all share a priest. So our priest Alan, our associate priest Catherine, and our two readers Carol and Paul, who altogether make up our ministry team, give services in all 3 churches. And we’ve been really careful to organise our services so that there’s one every Sunday in all 3 churches.
We also share other things – like this website.
(By the way, a group of churches like this are often known as a ‘Benefice’. That’s a Church of England technical word, and we’ve only mentioned it because you might come across it and wonder what it means.)