PLEASE NOTE THAT AS A RESULT OF THE PANDEMIC THE CHURCH IS NOT YET FULLY OPEN . SOME SERVICES RESUME FROM 12 JULY, AND THE CHURCH IS OPEN FOR PRIVATE PRAYER ON SUNDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS FROM 9.00 A.M. TO 6.00 P.M. THE COMMENTS BELOW SHOULD BE READ IN THAT CONTEXT, AND WE HOPE TO BE ABLE TO RESUME FULL SERVICES AND 24 HOUR CHURCH OPENING SOON.
You are most welcome to join us for any of our services. The Church is also always open for private prayer 24 hours every day.
The Reverend Kate Bailey was licensed as Priest-in-Charge on 17th October 2019. She and her husband, John, who is a licensed Reader, will be leading our Parish from now onwards.
The adjoining Parishes of Northchapel and Ebernoe are linked with us and we have very friendly relations with those Churches and share services with them from time to time and always on the fifth Sunday in the month.
St Laurence's is a very old (originally Saxon) Church and is set in an extensive and peaceful Churchyard which adjoins fields and woods. Inside it is quiet and simple and has a very welcoming atmosphere which contributes to the peace and beauty of this Holy place.
If you are new to our Church, here is some information for visitors which may be helpful:
A very warm Welcome:
Whoever you are, you will always be very welcome at St Laurence.When to arrive:
It's probably best to turn up around 5 minutes before the start of the service, or 10-15 minutes for services which are likely to have a lot of people, such as christenings, weddings and carol services. Weekly service times are given in the Parish Newsletter and displayed on the notice board by the Church gate, as well as being published on this website.
What to wear:
Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. We accept people as they are and there's no need to dress up unless you want to.
What to expect: Arriving
Going anywhere for the first time can be a bit of a nerve-racking experience but please don't worry about 'doing things wrong'. We aren't super-spiritual beings who will look down on you and we've all had a 'first day'. We are a friendly bunch and will be only too pleased to help if you have any questions. You'll be greeted on the door by someone who will give you all the books and information you need. People often use the time before a service to think or pray quietly, so if they're not all talking to you this might be why.
During the service
You can expect a mixture of prayers, hymns or songs, readings from the Bible and a fairly short sermon of up to 10 minutes.
Generally the service should last up to an hour.
Most of our services use the Common Worship form, but some use the more traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer, To make things easier at St Laurence we have printed our own service booklets for Common Worship services, which are very easy to follow, and if there are special services - Carol Service or Remembrance Sunday, for example - we have complete service sheets setting out the whole service. You will be given whatever it is that you may need for the service when you arrive.
We normally stand for hymns or songs and sit or kneel for most prayers but just follow the other people in the pews if you are unsure. We sit for the first Bible reading, read by a member of the congregation, but stand for the Gospel reading, which is generally read by the priest or other person leading the service. We also stand when we say the Creed.
At some services we ‘share the peace'. This just means shaking hands with people and saying 'Peace be with you'. You can join in with this or not as you please. People may also use this time to say hello if you are new.
You will not be embarrassed
When you visit St Laurence, or any Anglican church, you will be our respected and welcome guest. You will not be singled out in an embarrassing way, nor asked to stand before the congregation nor to come forward. You will worship God with us.
There may be tea and coffee after the service, which is an opportunity to get to know people if you would like to. You will also find that the person who has led the service will be available to talk to, often standing by the door, or you can chat to the rest of the people in church.
Our hope is that whether you just want to visit us for a one-off service, are looking into Christianity for the first time, or have been a Christian for many years, you will be encouraged and inspired by your visit. We hope that everyone who comes through our doors will meet with God and feel welcome among us.
It is fine to keep your children with you in the service. Please don't worry about them making a noise or moving about: we won't!
Not just Sundays:
St Laurence is kept open for you to visit 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, so should you wish to drop in for a period of prayer or quiet reflection it will always be possible for you to enjoy the peace of this beautiful Church.
If you would like more information about what happens in Anglican (Church of England) churches like ours please see What to expect at an Anglican church (opens in new window) or contact the Priest in Charge or one of the Churchwardens