I Am New

New to St Leonard’s?

First and foremost, we are delighted that you have visited this page and that you have either been along to a service or are thinking about it.

We are not a ‘members only club’ and anyone is warmly welcome to come along and be a part of our community life.

We hope that this part of the website will help to answer some of the questions you are asking.

Services

If you haven’t experienced Christian worship before, attending in the early days can feel daunting. Please don’t worry. We are very used to newcomers at St Leonard’s and delighted to help you find your way around any of the services.

Our Sunday morning services are always a Eucharist (which means ‘Thanksgiving’). This service has several stages we journey through using a booklet of which we all have a copy.

You are welcome to sit anywhere you like in the church. The booklet will guide you through when to stand and when to sit during the service, and the words in bold type are the words everyone says together. You will also have a white sheet which has the words of the hymns and songs on one side and the Bible readings on the other.

Before the service starts the congregation is welcomed informally.

The Processional Hymn - We stand, the choir and priests are led in behind servers carrying a cross and candles.

The Gathering and Welcome - The priest shares a traditional Christian greeting.

The Confession and Absolution - We pray a prayer of sorrow for our sin and words of forgiveness are given.

The Gloria - We stand to sing words of praise to God. During the Gloria the children go to their activities in the glazed Chapel at the back of church.

The Collect - A special prayer for the week.

The Liturgy of the Word - Bible readings.

The Sermon - A short talk is given.

The Creed - We stand and speak out what Christians have believed for centuries.

The Intercessions - A member of the congregation leads us in prayers for the church, the world, the sick, and we remember those who have died.

The Peace - We are reminded of the importance of living in peace with others and we share a sign of this by shaking hands with those around us saying ‘peace be with you’. The children rejoin us at this point.

The Offertory Hymn - We sing a hymn and the collection is taken. This is money given for the work of the church. There is no obligation to give. Just pass the plate along.

The Liturgy of the Sacrament - Bread and wine are bought to the altar and the priest retells the story of the Last Supper and Jesus’ invitation to remember him especially in that moment. We stand during this prayer.

Receiving Communion - Everyone is invited to share in the blessed bread and wine. If you do not feel ready to take communion, please come up and receive a blessing. Hold a service sheet?

The Notices - After communion the church notices are given.

The Blessing - Everyone stands and the priest gives a blessing.

The Recessional Hymn - The choir are led by the servers carrying the cross and candles to the back of the church.

The Sending Out - We all turn and face the doors leading out into the community and are sent out ‘to love and serve the Lord’.

However, we usually stay for a coffee and enjoy getting to know one another first!

We aim for this service to be around 80 mins.

On the first Sunday of the month this pattern is still followed but, in a format especially designed to include All Ages with the children and young people involved throughout. We call this service Celebrate Together!

We aim for this service to be under 60 mins.

On the first, third and fourth Sunday of each month, our evening service is taken from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The choir lead the congregation though the singing of psalms and prayers. There are two readings from the Bible (one from the Old and one from the New Testament) and a short sermon which is followed by a time of quiet reflection and prayer.

You will have a service booklet to follow, a hymn book, and a white sheet which will tell you the hymn numbers on the front and the words of the psalm for the evening in the centre fold.

We aim for this service to be around 50 mins.

On the second Sunday, the evening service is called Taizé prayer. It comes from a place called Taizé in France, where people from all over the world make a pilgrimage throughout the year to pray together.

Taizé worship is especially designed for Christians of all backgrounds, ages and nationalities. It is therefore an informal service with Bible readings, simple sung chants and long periods of silent reflection.

We gather around the altar in candlelight, and the service is seated throughout.

If you would like to learn the songs before the service and enjoy some pre-service refreshments you are welcome to arrive from 5.15pm.

We aim for this service to be around 50 mins.

FAQs

No. Faith is a journey and we welcome people at St Leonard’s wherever they are on that journey. The fact that you have followed this link probably means you are interested in exploring the Christian faith and have both questions and doubts; all of which are a good thing! No one at St Leonard’s is going to quiz or pressurise you. The space is yours; you are welcome to go at your own pace. If you would like to chat to one of our Clergy team at any point just pop us an email and we will be in touch.

No; you are welcome to come as often as you like. Weekly, monthly, occasionally – find a pattern that suits you. No one keeps a register at St Leonard’s!

Yes! The church is open each day for a few hours, usually 11am-2pm. You are welcome to simply sit and use the space as you wish to pray and reflect. We have a quiet corner where you can light a candle and there are some words available there to help guide your prayers.

Of course. All are welcome especially the little ones.

At our 10am Services we have a crèche available, which is staffed by people who are experienced with little children and who have all are committed to our safeguarding policy. Simply bring your children into the entrance area during the singing of the Gloria and someone will meet you there and show you to the crèche.

Your child will be returned to you at the peace or you are warmly welcome to stay in the crèche with them (the service is relayed in to the crèche, so you can hear it as your child plays).

If you would rather not use the crèche, that is also fine, please feel free to keep them in the service with you. There are a few quiet toys at the back if your child becomes unsettled.

We also have baby changing facilities. Just ask.

Yes! We are members of Inclusive Church, welcome LGBTQI people, and are delighted to include them in all aspects of our life and ministry together.

Please pop us an email and one of the clergy team will be in touch.

You can also join a group to learn more about the Christian faith. We offer short courses throughout the year to help people explore their faith, from Christian essentials to more challenging topics. We offer preparation for Baptism and Confirmation and explore a range of wider topics during Lent and Advent.

If you are interested in joining one of these groups, please contact the Rector and she will help point you to a course that will suit you.

Please pop us an email and one of the clergy team will be in touch.

Someone once said: I am not looking for a ‘friendly church’, I am looking or a church where I can ‘make friends’. St Leonard’s is a friendly church, and it is also a church in which friendships are made and flourish. We would be delighted to help you to feel more involved and make friends.

There are lots of ways in which you can get more involved at St Leonard's but the best way is through volunteering to help out in some way. There are a huge range of activities on at St Leonard’s and we are always looking for people who are willing to help out!

If you are musical, play and instrument or sing, please contact either our Director of Music Clíodna Shanahan (Choir) or Julie McCann (Taizé/instrumentalists).

Not sure what might work for you? Email the Rector and arrange to meet up and explore what might be a good fit.

No, you are welcome at St Leonard’s whether you give or not. However, you might feel you would like to give to the work of the Church and we would be delighted to receive your donation. Although there is a collection during all our services, many of our regular worshippers prefer to give by a standing order. This way they can Gift Aid their donation, and this gives the church an extra 28p for every £1 donated by a UK tax payer.

Find out more about the church's finances and what your donation contributes to.

Download our booklet Giving in Thanksgiving at St Leonard’s, 2018 (pdf)

Children and Young People