Attending a Service at St Mary’s during Spring and Summer 2021 – Some Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone attend a service at St Mary’s? Yes, subject to seating being available, and you would be made most welcome.

How do I book a place? Please contact Sue at services @ or by phoning 01786 824004. To ensure that the maximum number of people can attend a service, Sue needs to know each week who wishes to attend. Sue knows this might be a bit of a pain, but can you please contact her by Friday each week if you wish to attend a service/services that weekend; this will enable her to fill as many places as she can and not unnecessarily disappoint others who might otherwise have been able to join us. Places will be filled on a first come first served basis, so please get your booking in early! Please let Sue know also if you are ready to flexible.

What if I just turn up? If there is a spare place, you will be asked to complete a form giving your contact details for NHS Test & Protect. This information will be held by the Rector for 21 days.

When should I arrive? The building will be open 10 minutes before the start of the service. You may need to queue outside for a little. Please make sure that you social distance while you wait.

What happens as I enter the building? A welcomer will greet you outside the door and check your name on the list of attenders. You will need to wear a mask inside the building. You will be asked to sanitise your hands and pick up your service sheet.

Where will I sit? You will be directed to a seat by a second welcomer. The pews furthest from the door will be filled first. Alternate pews will be taped off so that there will be a space of 2 metres behind and in front of you. If you have come on your own you will share a pew with one other person sitting, 2 metres apart. If you have come as part of a larger social bubble you can sit together in a pew. You will be asked to stay seated throughout the service.

What if I need to use the disabled entrance? Just let Sue know and we will make the necessary arrangements. There is a space for a wheelchair towards the front of the church and towards the back.

What about children? Children of all ages are welcome to attend and take part in Sunday services. They will need to sit with the rest of their household. An activity pack will be provided for them, to be collected on your way in. Please indicate the ages of the children when you contact Sue. A Families Service is held in the church hall at 4.30 p.m. on the last Sunday of every month. This service is short and informal with activities and discussion around your family table and music provided by the band. Please contact Liz on events @ for more information or to book a table.

What will the service be like? The Early Morning Service at 8.30 a.m. is a said Communion Service using traditional language. It provides a calm space for reflection and prayer. The main Sunday service at 10.30 a.m. is a livelier and more interactive communion service with readings and prayers, a short address and hymns played on the organ or by the band. The Night Service at 8 p.m. is a short, reflective, candlelit service using a variety of styles from traditional Compline to Taizé.

What about music? There will be organ music most Sundays at the 10.30 Service and the band will sometimes play. We are not allowed to sing together but we can listen to hymns or songs being played, following the words on the service sheet, and solo singers can contribute to the service. At the Night Service there is usually music, live or recorded.

Will there be a collection? There will be a bowl at the back of church for you to leave an offering if you wish but we would prefer you to donate by BACS or by standing order or direct debit, if possible. For details, please contact Alastair at treasurer @

Will the service be filmed? The main service will be livestreamed so that those who can’t attend can watch it at home. It is broadcast on Facebook Live, which can be easily accessed via our Facebook page and will hopefully appear on your ‘home’ screen if you follow St Mary’s on Facebook. A video recording will appear on the St Mary’s website,, soon after the service. Only those taking part will be filmed. The camera is switched off during the distribution of communion.

What about communion? Every baptized Christian is welcome to receive communion at St Mary’s and anyone can come forward for an individual blessing. Each person, couple or family group will come to the altar individually, wearing a mask, having sanitised their hands. They reach out their hands to receive the bread, take a step to the side to consume having partially lifted their face mask, and then return to their seat. Then the next person, couple or family group will come up. The presiding priest will wear a mask while distributing communion and will avoid touching communicants’ hands. An arrangement can be made for the Stewards to place anyone who is unable to come to the altar at the aisle end of a pew. The priest will take communion to them wearing a mask.

What happens at the end of the service? Please stay in your seats until you are invited to leave by a welcomer. The pews nearest the main door will be emptied first. Please take your service sheet with you. Once you’re out of the building, please don’t cluster around the main doors of the church. Sadly, we are unable to provide refreshments at this stage.
What if I need to go to the toilet? The toilet in the church (through the door to the Vestry which is clearly marked) will be available. Please lower the cover before you flush. It will be cleaned straight after the service.

What if I need to speak to a priest? Whoever is leading the service will be around outside at the end of the service, weather permitting. You are always welcome to phone the Rectory on 824225 or send Nerys an email on to make an arrangement to see her another time.

How is the church prepared for services? After each service, the occupied pews are wiped and all surfaces which may have been touched are disinfected. In addition, Carol, the church cleaner, gives the church building a thorough clean every Wednesday afternoon.

What provision is there for those who can’t attend services? In addition to the recording of the main service, every Saturday, Material for Worship is sent to those on the congregational email list and distributed to those not online. It contains audio recordings of the readings for the day by members of the congregation, and a reflection and a prayer by a member of the Ministry Team. If you wish to receive this regularly, please contact Nerys.

Can I come into the church building at any other time? As we are not allowed to have the church open without supervision, the building is closed at the moment. If there was a desire to have the church open for a few hours a week for private prayer, this could be arranged. Please contact Nerys if you would find this helpful. The porch of the church is open during daylight hours and contains a prayer board and materials to take away. There will also be prayer activities in the grounds during the Spring and Summer including opportunities to walk the labyrinth on the Rectory lawn.

What about weddings and baptisms? Yes, they are possible with limited numbers and safety measures in place. Speak with Nerys if you would like to know more.