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ABOUT OUR CHURCH
This is in two sections – a factual, “essay-type” part (immediately after this sentence), and then a rather chattier part that gives a flavour of what it’s like to come to our church - it’s based on a leaflet we distribute at suitable times.
St Nicholas’ Church is set at the edge of lovely countryside in a North Warwickshire village. The church building dates from the 1840s (see more below), and is complemented by a well-equipped and up to date church hall, useful for some of our informal events. The Church is popular for weddings and baptisms. We try hard to be welcoming, helpful and relevant to our community, and are very much on the lookout for new members. We have good links with Woodside Primary School in the village; the school is “Church of England Controlled”, and comes to us in school-time for traditional occasions such as Harvest, Christmas and Easter. Parents and other family are usually able to attend these special services.
Since 2010 we have been led by Revd Roger Chamberlain, our Vicar, who returned to full-time ministry after several years as a primary teacher, ending as a deputy head. He is assisted by a local lady who completed her training as a Licensed Reader in 2012. She sometimes leads services and preaches. Roger is also Vicar at All Saints’ Church, Grendon. In recent years these two churches have come into much closer co-operation, within a Joint Benefice, and we have combined Communion services several times a year, alternating between the churches.
We have a usual Sunday attendance in the 40s, but a much larger fringe of occasional worshippers. There is a pattern of varied services through the month, and we share services with our sister-church, All Saints’ Grendon. For Communion services we use service-booklets compiled from the standard Common Worship prayer-book, selecting features that are appropriate to the church-season. We use the standard Common Worship books for Morning Worship. For informal All-Age services we use our own service-cards, and we have our own baptism booklets. Where possible, we provide our worship information in a user-friendly format.
We offer a Sunday School (“St Nick’s Kidz”) in school term-time, “Messy Church”, and “Stay, Play and Pray”, which is a recent weekly venture in association with Atherstone Early Years. Messy Church has become a well-attended and dynamic extension to our more traditional activities, combining a clear spiritual character – for parents and grandparents, as well as the children – with lots of fun. We have occasional evening services of healing, as part of a Holy Communion. We hold a summer Garden Party at the Church Hall, a Christmas Fair in the church hall, and we join in with village events such as open-air nativity plays, and “Party in the Park”. Our Palm Sunday processions and our Advent Lantern Walks have attracted large numbers of participants and spectators.
Many members of the church have taken part in the “3D” course, “Diocesan course for Developing Disciples”, and some have attended the “Leading Your Church Into Growth” Conference, as well as other, in-house courses. Several members have signed up to attend a pastoral support course being provided by the Diocese, from autumn 2013.
Where people bring young children to church, we quite understand that they become restless, so we provide play-bags, and we are happy to allow children to roam about during services – we don’t expect parents to feel the need to keep them silent and still!
We have recently received permission from the Diocese of Birmingham to prepare children to receive Holy Communion before being confirmed, subject to reasonable conditions, and we now have a small number of children who receive Communion, but this is not a substitute for confirmation – we expect the children to advance to confirmation at the appropriate age. The Church Council has consulted the congregation on this, and we feel that it will help these young people to feel truly part of the church from an early age.
As well as our Church-based worship, we have various community activities in the Church Hall, including Luncheon Club and monthly bingo.
The church building was consecrated in 1846, replacing a Norman church – no longer in existence – which had become isolated when the centre of the village gradually migrated further up the hill. Our present church is stone-built, set in a large traditional churchyard with many mature trees, has a tower capped with a spire, and a large nave. The tower, spire and clock have recently been renovated, and the church was re-decorated in 2014. Two main historical features, to be seen inside the church, are the Latimer Pulpit, from which Bishop Latimer preached shortly before his martyrdom; and a large brass plaque in the Chancel, commemorating those who lost their lives in a devastating mine explosion in the 1880s. This is one of a number of reminders of the mining history of the village – the pit closed in 1989, but much of the spirit of community that was so characteristic of mining areas still remains.
PEOPLE LIKE YOU..... .....COME TO CHURCH
PEOPLE LIKE YOU!
There are lots of people who feel drawn towards God, but don't come to church because they aren't sure what happens. Some of us used to feel just like that! Increasingly people are looking for meaning and purpose in life and that is reflected in a growing number coming to church.
WHAT ARE WE LIKE? Friendly and cheerful and down to earth! We try to be welcoming but not pushy. You should be relaxed and enjoying yourself, not worried! There should be someone to welcome you at the door and give you (usually) a hymn-book, a prayer-book, and a news-sheet for the week (the news-sheet is for you to take away). If you're not sure where to sit, one of the welcomers will help. If you'd like to sit with someone else, you will be welcome. If you'd rather sit by yourself, that's fine too. If you haven't been to church before, or not recently, just watch what other people do. The person leading the service usually says when to sit or stand.
WHAT WE ARE NOT LIKE Well, we're certainly not perfect! We won't try to make you feel like an outsider. We won't act "superior" because we've been going to church longer than you. We don't have all the answers, either, so we're all very much in need of God's love, forgiveness and support.
WHAT IS A SERVICE LIKE? The first thing to say is that we have different kinds of church service (times are shown on the Services and Events tab on this website entry). They last about 45 minutes to an hour. All the Sunday services involve singing and prayers. We usually end services with a hymn accompanied by noisy shakers and tambourines which anyone can play - or not - as they want. There is always a "collection" during a hymn, when a couple of people go around with plates to collect donations. Give as much or as little as you like - or nothing - it's not "ticket only"! The collection will be announced before it starts, so that you can be ready.
ST NICK'S KIDz, our group for children, normally meets in the Church Hall, except when it's All Age Service, when the youngsters come into church with everyone else. St Nick's Kidz is for children around 4 or 5 years to about 11, and is run by members who are CRB-checked.
MESSY CHURCH meets roughly once a month and includes activities and worship for parents and children. If you want to "try out" going to church, the All Age Service is the best one to start with. It's pretty relaxed, probably the most suitable service for families with children, and for people who are "feeling their way". For people who are familiar with church and perhaps have just moved into the area, we also have Morning Worship and Holy Communion (see the Services and Events tab for details). BUT: everyone is welcome at any of our services!
HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON IN THE CHURCH? We have a website - see the main entry-page in "A Church Near You". Posters and fliers for special events are put on the noticeboard at the church gate.
OTHER QUESTIONS: What should I wear? - What you are comfortable with. For some people it's a suit and tie; for others, it's jeans and T-shirt. You'll see all sorts! Will I be asked to do anything, read anything etc, by myself? - No, not as a newcomer. If I start going to church, do I have to go every week? - No; come when you want to. Do I have to have been baptised, to come to church? - No. If I start going to church, do I have to be baptised (or confirmed)? - No. Some of us came for years without being baptised. If I'm still not sure about all this, who can I ask for more information? - Easy; there are lots of people: Roger Chamberlain the Vicar (01827 713245), or one of the Churchwardens, Ray Sweet (01827 712810) or Claire Blakeley (01827 715454); or you can ask anyone you know who goes to church. WE HOPE YOU WILL DECIDE TO COME - YOU WILL BE WELCOME!
A5 (1mi South from Grendon roundabout)
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