The Sunday morning service is for all ages at 10am. Everyone is welcome to come along and join in the worship. If you have children, they are welcome too. People often worry that the children will make noise and be disruptive but don’t worry, our vicar makes lots of noise and is disruptive too! Just come along and join in.
It can seem a little daunting to go to a church service if you haven’t been to a particular church before. The most important thing to remember when you come to Holy Nativity is to relax and not worry about the strange customs of the congregation, just make yourself at home. Hopefully this page will make some sense of what to expect on a Sunday morning.
Holy Nativity is a friendly community and do our best to recognise and welcome all first-time visitors, but if we don’t manage as well as we’d like, say ‘hi’ to someone over a coffee at the end of the service. In a small community church it can be hard to stay anonymous but if you are looking for space to be on your own we will try to respect that. Perhaps at the end of the service you will take the opportunity to introduce yourself once you’ve (hopefully) established that we are a reasonable bunch of people after all.
Here are some things you probably want to know, especially if you are not a regular church-goer:
The services are reasonably informal and generally follow a familiar structure. We usually follow the pattern of a Church of England communion service where bread and wine are shared. Revd Robb (the priest) usually wears robes during the service.
All of our services use modern language so don’t expect to find Thees or Thous. There is usually a booklet which contains prayers, some of which the leader (usually the vicar) says and some in bold that we say together. You may find some of them familiar like The Lord’s Prayer, and some of them less so. It may come naturally to you or it may not. Don’t worry if you find yourself just listening to the congregation or praying inside your head, no one is judging you.
Sometimes we use different words during the service. We usually put them on the big screen at the front of church where you can also find the words of the songs we sing.
At some points in the service we stand up and at others we sit down. If you are unable to do this easily, don’t worry.
Communion is where churches share bread and wine in the way that Jesus did with his disciples nearly 2000 years ago. This is usually towards the end of the service after the priest has led the congregation in prayer. The congregation usually come to a rail at the front of the church to receive the bread and wine and take it by putting their hands out. Some people like to kneel, some people like to stand. There is no right or wrong, it’s up to you.
If you don’t feel comfortable taking communion, you are still more than welcome to come forward. If you leave your hands by your side the priest will pray for God’s blessing to be with you. He usually places his hand on people’s head when he does this.
Everything Changes – Christmas, Easter and…. Lots of other times
We like to follow the pattern of the church year so there are lots of times for celebration or preparation. This will often come with a change of colour to the furnishings in the church and different things happening during the service. It isn’t just Christmas Day or Easter Sunday when this happens so if you happen to venture into a festival, all sorts can happen. Take it as it comes, you have as much clue about what is going on as anyone else in the congregation!
A collection is taken in every service of worship. The small community at Holy Nativity has a big impact upon the local area through community action. This is only possible because the people who worship at Holy Nativity care so much about Mixenden and Illingworth that they generously give to this work. It would be fantastic if you could give generously as it is only through this that we are able to continue to serve the community. However, if you do not wish to contribute, just let the bag pass by. Many members arrange their giving via standing orders, so a significant proportion of the congregation will not be putting anything in the bag. No-one will think anything of it if you don’t contribute.
The music at Holy Nativity draws upon a wide variety of different styles varying from traditional hymns to more modern worship songs. Usually our music is led on guitar with a small group of singers. Occasionally we may have different kinds of accompaniment from a variety of styles.
The congregation has a wide range of musical ability—so if you can’t sing or don’t know the tune, you won’t be the only one!
The bible is at the heart of the faith of the congregation at Holy Nativity and exploring it together is an important part of worship. Sermons at Holy Nativity often make full use of the church’s media equipment, using film, music and photographs as illustrations. They are designed for people of all ages and are often quite interactive. It isn’t unusual for members of the congregation to ask questions of the vicar. He often encourages it.
There are a small number of children who regularly attend worship at Holy Nativity. They are often involved in the church service so we don’t have a Sunday School and children’s work happens at other times. Children are welcome in church. We have an area for small children to play with a range of activities.
Children make noise and ask questions. That’s ok – so does the vicar!
God’s love is an open offer to everyone. Holy Nativity makes every effect to be accessible to everyone. There is good access for wheelchair users and disabled toilet facilities. A loop system is fitted for people with hearing-aids. The congregation is open to all and often has worshippers with special needs including learning difficulties and autism. Everyone is welcome at Holy Nativity. If you have any questions or require support during your visit, please just ask.