Welcome! We are delighted that you have come to St Stephen’s!
We hope you will include us in your spiritual journey, whether you are just taking your first steps or have been on the road for some time. Our desire is to provide the atmosphere and tools for you to grow as you go. St Stephen’s is a lively and dynamic place with lots going on both within our walls and outside. For more details of our many activities see our events section.
If you’re going to a church for the first time, or the first time in a long time, it can be very daunting. We want you to feel at ease and welcomed when you visit us, so here are some answers to questions you might have as to what to expect.
1. What do I wear?
We don’t expect people to wear their ‘Sunday best!’ Some of our folk come smartly dressed, most come dressed casually. Wear what you feel comfortable in – as long as it is not indecent!
2. How long are the services?
Usually around one hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half.
3. What do I do when I come in?
You will normally be given a service and notice sheet at the door. Sit anywhere where there is a free chair. We have good level access to the building. Everything else you will need will appear on the screens at the front of church.
4. What about bringing children?
Children are welcome and we don’t mind noise. The 10.45am service is particularly family friendly, and we have a range of children’s activities in our church hall next door which start about 15 minutes into the service. The service leader will make an announcement for children to go out. Follow the others and someone will be able to direct you to the right room. Your children are welcome to go out with the other children or stay with you.
5. What happens during the services?
Usually we sing Christian songs; there are prayers, a Bible reading, a talk and, sometimes, special presentations. We normally stand to sing songs and sit to pray and listen to the talk. Our songs are a mixture of traditional hymns and modern Christian songs played by a music group.
6. Will I be made to do anything?
No. You can sit and do nothing if you want. Most people join in with the songs. You may not know the tune but the words will be projected on the screens at the front, and the words of the service are on the service sheet that you will be given. The person leading the service will tell us what to do so that you can participate if you wish. We would love all people to discover the blessing of knowing God, but we will not force our faith on people.
7. What do I do in a Communion Service?
Communion is where we share bread and wine (non-alcoholic wine and gluten free wafers are available) in remembrance of Jesus’ death for us. All those who are following Jesus as Saviour and Lord are welcome to go up to the front of church to have the bread and wine. Those who are not Christians, or who do not want to take communion for any reason, can either stay in their chairs or go up to the front for a prayer of blessing (simply keep your hands by your side to indicate that you would like prayer).
8. Will I be asked for money?
No. When you come in you will see a box for donations. This is for our regular members who want to support the church financially. Donations are welcome, but we do not want visitors to feel obliged to give anything.
9. Can I talk to someone about problems or ask for prayer?
We have people who come to the front of the church during and after services to pray for people and talk about questions or difficulties about faith. You are also able to fill out one of our prayer request cards if you would prefer for us to pray for you at another time. We can also put you in touch with other support organisations who specialise in specific areas.
10. What happens after the service?
People normally mingle and talk. Please stay around and meet people. At the back of church there is lots of information about what we do at St Stephen’s and how you might like to get involved. You are free to leave whenever you wish.
11. Do I have to be a Christian to attend?
No! We welcome anyone regardless of their beliefs. We hope you learn a little more of our faith as Christians when you visit, but we totally respect an individual’s own beliefs and think everyone must make up their minds for themselves.
13. How accessible is the Church?
We have written an accessibility page specifically to answer some of these questions.
12. I really enjoyed it. How do I find out more?
Please take one of our ‘Welcome’ packs and fill out the enclosed ‘Hello’ card. Any of the Welcome Team will be able to help you with this (these are the people wearing badges at the back who gave you a notice sheet!). We will then let you know of anything else going on in church life that maybe of interest.
If you have any other questions, get in touch.