What to expect at our services
All Hallows is part of the Church of England and welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds. Whoever you are, we would be delighted if you join us for one of our services.
When to arrive?
The service times are on the website and it is probably best to arrive around 5 minutes before the service begins, or in the case of a wedding, christening or funeral, 10 – 15 minutes ahead will allow you time to find a seat and get settled.
Wheelchair and buggy access is easy, up a slope but no steps into the church.
Sadly, there are no lavatories at the church but the Horse Guards pub opposite is very understanding!
What to wear
Wear whatever you feel comfortable in, there is no need to dress up unless you want to.
What to expect
Going anywhere new can be a bit nerve wracking, but please don’t worry about “doing things right”! We are friendly and are only too pleased to help if you have any questions.
Someone will greet you at the door, and hand you a booklet with all the words of the Service that day, plus a hymn book and a notice sheet with readings on it.
You are welcome to sit anywhere you feel comfortable.
During the service
At All Hallows we have three different types of Sunday Service. One using the traditional words of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), another is more modern using the Common Worship form of service. A short sermon is usual in these morning services. The person leading the service, announces what page to find in the service booklet, but if you lose the place just look over someone’s shoulder or ask your neighbour. We want you to feel at ease, even if things are new to you.
The third is the all age Family Service, (the first Sunday in the month - at 10.15am) which is very informal, usually the music is provided by a guitar and keyboard, with instruments for the children to play. There are often puppets to introduce the subject, and the service involves story telling, drama, and as much interaction with the children as possible and a thought for the day for the grown ups! There is a service sheet with the words and songs, so everyone knows what is happening next. Those who come regularly range between 0 to 90 and seem to love it!
During all the services people will usually sit or kneel to pray, do whatever suits you best. We normally stand to sing. Just follow the people round you if you are unsure. It doesn’t matter at all if you don’t know exactly what to do, because if you are new to this, there is absolutely no reason why you should!
We sometimes “share the Peace”, which is our way of greeting our neighbours and those around us and wishing them God’s peace. We might shake your hand and say “peace be with you” and you can reply if you feel you want to join in.
During one of the Hymns a small bag is passed round for the collection. Some people put in small envelopes, some cash, and some nothing. These people have usually opted to pay towards the costs of running the church by standing order. As a guest, we would not expect you to make a contribution, but of course, if you would like to pop something on the bag, it would be very welcome!
If it is a Communion service, when the Bread and Wine are given out, we have an “Open Table”. Which means, if you are a person who would normally take communion in your church whatever denomination…you are more than welcome to join us. If you would like to come forward to the altar rail for a prayer of blessing instead, just come up with everyone else and keep your hands by your side and the priest will say a short prayer for you. Children are very welcome to come as well. Please feel free to stay in your seat if you prefer.
After the Service
Twice a month there is coffee afterwards and people hang around chatting and are keen to say hello if you want a chat. The Vicar will be by the door if you want to talk to her. It is a good opportunity to get to know people and we all want to make you welcome. You are, of course, completely free to slip away quietly if you prefer!
Children and Babies
You are welcome to keep your children with you in the pews or at the back where there are some toys and colouring things, to keep them amused.. We have little play bags if your child would like to use them in the pews. Please don’t worry about them making a noise or moving about….. we won’t. Please relax.
The Family service usually has lots of toddlers pottering around, singing and moving things…there is nothing to worry about.
Not Just Sundays
There are groups that meet during the week. These are friendly and relaxed, meeting in someone’s house over Tea and cake! These groups are ways some of us explore our faith and ask questions relating Christianity to everyday life.