Service Structure

These are general structures for our Holy Communion Services to give an idea of what happens. However, it is important to mention that there will be variances and also that other services will differ. If you require more information about these or any of our other services please do contact us.

Sunday 10am Holy Communion

This service is taken from Common Worship.

As you enter the church, you will be welcomed by a Sidesperson, who will give you a hymn book and a booklet of the service. Our service booklets are Green (for Ordinary Time), Red (for All Saints to Advent), Purple (for Advent and Lent), and Yellow (for the Easter and Christmas periods). The Green booklet has a few versions of the Eucharistic Prayer (the one being used is always announced at the beginning of the Eucharist).

Please choose any free seat of your choice in the pews. If there is a church parade or baptism some of the rows may be reserved for the Uniform Groups or baptism family and guests but with that exception you can sit in any of the available pews. If you are visiting for a baptism, you might prefer to sit near to the font, which is at the back of the church. It may help to sit where you can see the altar table, as that is where most of the service will take place.

Generally, we stand when we sing, and sit or kneel during prayers. Directions are often announced but are also written in the service booklet (Please feel free to sit if you need to or if you’re not sure which to do).

There are boards on the wall in front of you which display the hymn numbers, but these are also announced (by hymn number not page number) before we sing each one.

The service begins with a hymn, accompanied by the organ or piano, and sung by everybody. During this hymn, the Choir will process to their stalls. The booklet is then followed, normally with sung “settings”. If it is term time, Little Saints (Sunday School) will leave for Church House at this point for the children’s activities. On occasion a prayer may be said with them before they leave.

After the Gloria we hear the first two readings followed by a hymn (during this hymn, the Choir walks to the front pews on the left hand-side so that they can be part of the sermon. They remain there until the Peace). Everyone then remains standing to hear the Gospel reading (please feel free to sit if you need to), after which we sit to listen to the sermon from the Vicar or scheduled preacher.

At this point we stand to recite the Creed and then sit or kneel for the intercessions (prayers), which are read from the pews, and the Peace. At St. Michael’s, when we “share the Peace” the congregation will greet each other with a handshake (or sometimes even a hug if you know them well) to show that we want everybody to show peace to each other. If you do not feel comfortable shaking hands, then please do feel free to sit quietly during this part. If Little Saints is in session, it is at this point that the children start returning to the service.

The Choir will then return to their stalls and an offertory hymn is sung. During this hymn, our collection is taken. An offertory bag is passed around into which you may put some money or your envelope towards the work of our church, parish and the Church of England. You do not have to put money in but we do ask that you please pass the bag to the next person or row.

The service continues with the Eucharistic prayer, the Priest will get the communion items ready and walk, with the servers, to the High Altar. During this time, the Choir usually sings the Agnus Dei (the words are in the service booklet and all are welcome to join in).

In turns, people from each pew now go up to the Altar to receive communion. The Churchwardens or their representatives will let each row know when it is time for that row to go up for communion, and you then follow the person in front of you. Please either kneel or stand at the altar rail, and walk back to your pews when you have received either both bread and wine or your blessing (if you choose to have bread and wine, the Priest will give you a wafer, and then a server will give you a sip of wine from a shared goblet).

If you do not want to receive communion, but would like to come up to receive a blessing, please keep your hands at your side and the Priest will give you a blessing by laying their hand on your head and saying a short prayer. If you do not want their hand on your head, please show this by using the sign for “stop” (which is to hold up your hand with your palm facing forward). Otherwise, please stay seated.

If you are unable to walk to the Altar but would still like to receive communion, please do let the Sidespeople or Churchwardens know. In these circumstances they can request for the sacrament of bread and wine to be brought to you in your pew. Please stand if you are able to so that it is easier for the Minister to find you.

Whilst the communion is being distributed, the Choir usually sing one or two anthems. Normally, they will sing these either in the South Transept (to the right of your seats) or in the choir stalls with the organ.

After receiving communion, please make your way back to your seat. If you think you won’t remember where you were sitting, you are welcome to take your hymn book and service booklet up to the altar with you and sit in any free seat afterwards.

Once everyone is back in their seats, the Priest will return to the Nave altar and the Post-Communion Prayer is said. Any notices, such as upcoming services and events in the parish, are then announced. If there are any Banns of Marriage these will also be read at this time and a prayer said for any couples preparing for marriage.

A final hymn is sung, after which there is a short prayer and a dismissal. Whilst the Organist plays music, the Choir and Officiants will leave the stalls and walk back down to the tower room. After they have passed you, you may sit back down until you are ready to leave your seat. During this time please feel free to listen to the Organist, pray or reflect. Please return your hymn book and service booklet to the table by the door you came in, or leave it in your pew to be collected.

If there is a baptism at the Sunday morning service, the middle part of the service is slightly different and we use an additional blue baptism sheet for this part of the service. Baptism normally takes place after the sermon and we go back to the normal service pattern at the intercessions (prayers).

After the service you are welcome to join us for refreshments which are served in the South Transept.

Wednesday 10:30am Holy Communion

This is a said service, which means there are no hymns or other music.

This service takes place in the choir stalls, at the front of the church. Please feel free to go straight there and take a seat as the service books are laid out in the stalls in advance.

You can sit in any available part of the choir stalls but you may find it useful to sit where you can see the altar, as that is where most of the service takes place. Normally, we stand for the Collect, the Gloria and the Creed, and may sit or kneel during prayers. (Please feel free to sit if you need to or if you’re not sure which to do).

Our service books are Green (for Ordinary Time), Red (for All Saints to Advent), Purple (for Advent and Lent), and Yellow (for the Easter and Christmas periods). The Green booklet has a few versions of the Eucharistic Prayer (the one being used is always announced at the beginning of the Eucharist).

The service book is followed for the service (directions are written in the booklet).
The Gloria is followed by the Collect, the first reading, the Gospel reading, and then a short thought for the day (which is said by the Vicar or by the scheduled preacher).

After this we stand to say the Creed during which we all face the East (the direction of the high altar, at the front of the church). We then pray and after the prayers we share the Peace.

At St. Michael’s, when we “share the Peace” the congregation will greet each other with a handshake (or sometimes even a hug if you know them well) to show that we want everybody to show peace to each other. If you do not feel comfortable shaking hands, then please do feel free to sit quietly during this part.

After this an offertory bag is passed around into which you may put some money or your envelope towards the work of our church, parish and the Church of England. You do not have to put money in but we do ask that you please pass the bag to the next person or row.

The Eucharist follows (with setting announced), the Priest will get the communion items ready and walk, with the servers, to the High Altar.

In turns, people will go up to the Altar to receive communion. If you would like to come up to receive a blessing please keep your hands at your side and the Priest will give you a blessing by laying their hand on your head and saying a short prayer. If you do not want their hand on your head, please show this by using the sign for “stop” (which is to hold up your hand with your palm facing forward).

After receiving communion or a blessing please return to your seat. Once everyone has returned there is a short prayer and a dismissal, after which you are welcome to remain sitting to pray, reflect or sit quietly.

After the service, please return your service booklet to where you found it and you are welcome to join us for refreshments which are served in the South Transept.

On occasion, we may instead say Morning Prayer. This is taken from the Book of Common Prayer and reflects on the readings for the day.

5:30pm Thursday Evening Prayer 

This is a short Evening Prayer service, using Common Worship, please click here for the service sheet that we follow. During this service incense is used and we sing plainsong chants.