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Learning More About the Church, Jesus and Faith

The following has been written by members of the St Mary’s church community.

What is Prayer?

Prayer is talking with God, not talking to God, bearing in mind that God is our Father and we are His children. Prayer should not be only request but should also be thanks and praise. Like an earthly Father the answer may be ‘no’ or ‘not yet’.

Prayer is best when it is part of all that we do. Which means that our prayer lives are as diverse as the unique people we are. In many ways it resembles any other relationship and needs to be given time, space and commitment.

Prayer is communication and relationship with God. It is both speaking, listening and response as we seek God’s will for us and for the world around us. This involves thanks, praise and asking in equal measure.

Prayer is talking with our loving heavenly Father. Jesus gave us a model of prayer: “Our Father in heaven…” You can use these words every day or use your own words in a similar pattern.

Prayer is ultimately the way you build and maintain a relationship with God, by talking, listening or being with God.

Is It Okay to Feel Sad When a Loved One Dies?

Yes, absolutely! Jesus wept when his friend Lazarus died. It is natural to feel sad but we are sad for our own loss. Christians believe that death is not the end. Jesus said he was going to prepare a place for his friends to be with him, we can take great comfort from that. We can be glad our loved one is now freed from suffering and in His care.

Grief is a natural part of the healing process. However it is important to consider the other side of loss. We should rejoice in the lost ones life, who they were and what they mean to us. Too much sadness can become self pity. It should be remembered that grieving is a process that we all move through in different ways and at different paces.

We can feel sadness at our loss and we can be thankful for all we have shared. We will always feel a sadness for our personal loss, but this sadness is tempered by the fact that we can know that our loved ones are with God and that we will be reunited with them one day.

I Haven’t Been to Church in a Long Time and Feel Guilty. What Help Can I Get?

St Mary’s is a welcoming church that is not centred solely around its clergy but around a church family. We can offer a wide range of life experience and aren’t afraid to grapple with the difficult questions. We are proud of the different activities and worship opportunities we offer during the week and are looking forward to the exciting possibilities that the physical changes in church are going to bring.

There is no need to feel guilty because there is no judgement on people about whether they go to church or not. Church is a place of acceptance and welcome and if you can find a nearby church where you feel comfortable, you will have a new start in your life.

If you would like to talk to one of our ministry team first we can arrange that. Or just come: Jesus said he came for the guilty, not the righteous. We welcome all who come without question, if you prefer we could first send you a helpful booklet to guide you. Do not feel guilty, every journey and opportunity starts with a single step.

Attendance at Church is not the deciding factor, neither is there any reason to feel guilty. There are many people like you, who once they have decided to return to church find peace of mind. We welcome your presence and God is a welcoming and loving God.

Will You Accept Me for Who I Am?

We are a church where there is a variety of worship styles, activities for different age ranges and everyone is welcome to find and play their part within the church community. People of all backgrounds and abilities find a warm welcome here.

Jesus welcomed everybody who came to him. We try to do the same at St Mary’s. We welcome people of all ages and backgrounds – we are an inclusive community and are often told that people have been surprised by the warm welcome they receive here. Scripture tells us that we should not judge. Everyone is different and only God knows a persons’ heart.

St Mary’s is well known for the warmth of its welcome. We try to reflect that in the range of activities and worship opportunities we offer. We feel this is our Christian response to the diversity of Christ’s own disciples who came from many ethnic and faith backgrounds. We feel God made us unique in our own right and we all strive to fulfil that God given potential.

What are the Highlights in a Year at Your Church?

Highlights are perceived differently according to each person. It can be the look on a child’s face seeing the crib, a couple making their marriage vows or someone comprehending a truth from a sermon. In some ways every service should be a highlight. 

The opportunities we create to come together as a Church community and share fellowship. These strengthen and empower us. They then enable us to draw the wider community into our family and for us to take that love and fellowship back out into the community.

Services that encourage others to join us. Christingle, Remembrance, Midnight Communion, Christmas morning, the Carnival service in the High Street. The combined services with the Methodists following the witness walk.

Celebrating Christian festivals such as Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and Harvest (including Harvest lunch). Coming together for a variety of social activities throughout the year. Add to these all our special services during Holy Week and Easter which include Maundy meal and vigil, Good Friday procession of witness, and an Easter vigil and renewal of baptismal vows on Holy Saturday. Other special events include the Bazaar and summer fete; Christmas party.