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How do I start going to a CofE church?

(35 Posts)
WorkingClassScum Mon 15-Oct-07 20:44:47

I know this seems ridiculous, but having never been to a regular church service, and not having actually been christened I am unsure.

Should I call the vicar first? What happens with ds (3), it says they have Sunday School but what ages do they take? Also ds wasn't christened either will that be a problem? The husband was confirmed into the Episcopal church (he's American) which is Anglican right? So will it be the same as he's used to?

I know what church I'll be going to as it's nearby and I chatted to the vicar briefly a couple of times when I used to do volunteer work and he's lovely... and a bit eccentric! I just feel so stupid because I'm clueless. But I also feel so at peace after a long time in the wilderness.

TheQueenOfQuotes Mon 15-Oct-07 20:47:35

Just turn up, lots of churches have "creche" facilities for those that are alittle too young for Sunday School, some are "DIY" ones - others have people running it (so you can sit and listen to the service).

Makes no difference whether you're Christened or not.

And as for what the service will be like - who knows! There are so many different "styles" of worship - even within the Anglican church, sometimes it's just a case of "shopping around" to find one that suits you,

TheDuchess Mon 15-Oct-07 20:49:36

I've tried out a few churches lately and as a visitor I was made to feel very welcome. There was tea and coffee afterwards so plenty of time to chat.

Tommy Mon 15-Oct-07 20:49:56

just go!

hopefully there will be some nice friendly people to welcome you and show you what's what smile

Bienchen Mon 15-Oct-07 20:50:27

Totally agree with QoQ. I discovered our little church by chance. Because it os so small it is very friendly. DS was accepted immediately and he is now serving.

DD (7 months) goes with us and nobody bats an eyelid; actually the older ladies look forward to seeing her and her "chattering"

WorkingClassScum Mon 15-Oct-07 20:52:44

Thanks for the quick responses!

We'll just turn up then!

NKF Mon 15-Oct-07 20:53:54

Just turn up. I don't know where you live but if you have choice, it might be worth trying a few. They are very different. It's a broad church and all that.

TheQueenOfQuotes Mon 15-Oct-07 20:54:53

I take DS3 (20 weeks) with me and play the organ with him on my knee grin

TheOldestCat Mon 15-Oct-07 20:55:04

Hallo WorkingClassScum

We got an 'introduction' for the church we got married in (cause you had to have a special reason if you lived outside the parish). But we just turned up to our local CofE one.

I'm not christened either and DH is Catholic. But we found the CofE very welcoming and inclusive. I just sat in the pew while DH went up for the bread and wine etc.

Oh and if the vicar says "We'll now greet each other", you turn to the people near you to shake hands and say "peace be with you". Don't do what i did and take it literally - in response to the lovely old lady next to me I went "oh hello, I'm TheOldestCat, how d'you do?"

DH still laughs about that to this day.

ps That's lovely you feel at peace.

Roseylea Mon 15-Oct-07 20:59:24

There's no need to phone the vicar first, but if you wanted to, I'm sure he'd keep an eye out for you at the service and say hello!

Episcopal is the same as CofE, but as QoQ says there is a huuuuuuuuuuuge spectrum of belief and practice within the Anglican church so be prepared to try something that might be a bit new!

Most churches have "welcome teams" of people by the door, saying hi as you go in, giving out service sheets / hymn books / notice sheets and answering any questions, so you could ask them where your ds should go. Most services tend to have the children in the service for the first little while, then they all go out to creche / Sunday school / whatever. These days, to my great delight, churches are generally more welcoming of young children than they used to be, so don't worry if your ds is not silent in church - no -one would expect him to be!

If it helps, we take along a few toys (not many pieces that could get lost and nothing complicated requiring our help!) and a drink of water to keep them happy (although in our church they are only in the service for 10 mins, then off to their groups).

Let us know how you get on!

Dontlookatmeimshy Mon 15-Oct-07 20:59:36

Yes, just go. Thats what we did.

If it's anything like ours, people will be very welcoming (especially if you have a small child). Ds is only 2 and doesn't go to Sunday school and there is no creche so we just sit at the back and he plays with his cars and/or trots round chatting up the old ladies

No-one minds. We are trying to organise his Christening at the moment, we can arrange to have it in the normal sunday service or in a seperate service, the vicar has told us if we don't do in in the normal service we will probably be lynched by the congregation

Dontlookatmeimshy Mon 15-Oct-07 21:04:05

Oldestcat.I just read your 'peace be with you' bit to dh and he confessed he did the same rofl.

TheOldestCat Mon 15-Oct-07 21:09:03

Dontlookatme - glad it wasn't just me then! grin

StIncognita Mon 15-Oct-07 21:15:44

My Dh said 'Oh, that's very kind, thankyou' [rolling eyes emoticon]

TheOldestCat Mon 15-Oct-07 21:20:35

Tell your DH: "peace be with you!" from me then. grin

WorkingClassscum - hope your first church visit is lovely and you contine to feel at peace.

MaryBS Mon 15-Oct-07 22:32:36

I would just turn up. Will your DH be with you? So you can ask him questions?

If you're unfamiliar with church, then I'd sit near the back, so you can watch when to stand up/sit down. Saves you having to worry about what to do and when!

If the church does a family service, often that's a bit more informal and relaxed, you might like to go along then, for your "first time". That's what I did with our church. In fact for the first few months, thats what I did, went once a month to the family service! blush

Let us know how you get on, we're a nosey bunch like that! wink

WorkingClassScum Tue 16-Oct-07 06:55:30

I planned on going to the family service on Sunday, that's the one where they have Sunday school too.

The church also has communion on a Wednesday morning and morning prayer on Mon, Tues and Thurs. What do these mean as opposed to a Sunday service?

Thanks for all your help

Bouncingturtleskulls Tue 16-Oct-07 07:14:59

Yep just turn up! Also if they offer an Alpha course and you want to learn a bit more about the Christian faith, that is a good place to start. Plus it is an excellent way to get to know regular church goers and newbies like yourself. Look at website here.
I did the Alpha course a couple of years ago, and it was very enjoyable - I went as a lapsed catholic, DH as a disinteredted Anglican, and we are now active members of our local church (who offer a creche at the first service in the morning, plus lots of clubs for different age groups).

MaryBS Tue 16-Oct-07 07:28:40

Morning prayer is worship consisting of psalms, readings and prayers, in a set format. Below is a link showing a typical such service:

Morning prayer

Communion during the week tends to be much quieter and without hymns and sermon. Does it just say "communion" or does it mention BCP (Book of Common Prayer)?

There are 2 main styles of worship in the C of E, "Book of Common Prayer" or BCP and "Common Worship" or CW. If its Common Worship, the wording is modern, and tends to use a modern translation of the bible, if its BCP its traditional and old fashioned (although some people love it for that reason - not me though!). The BCP dates from 1662.

Below is an example of BCP morning prayer:

Hope this helps.

WorkingClassScum Sun 21-Oct-07 13:54:43

Well we went and it was fab! Lots of laughter in between and the vicar is very friendly... with a fabulous singing voice! In fact he's popping round at 2 tomorrow to discuss the possibility of baptism for ds and myself!

ds went to Sunday school with the other three children, although apparently there's sometimes more, which he loved and the kids come in afterwards to show what they've been doing and get blessings.

We'll definitely be attending regularly, it was so relaxed and warm and friendly.

DutchOma Sun 21-Oct-07 14:59:46

Oh good for you, glad you enjoyed it. Let us know how you are getting on with baptisms etc

MaryBS Mon 22-Oct-07 17:12:59

How did it go??? So glad yesterday was good!

WorkingClassScum Tue 23-Oct-07 18:25:09

Spent an hour and a quarter chatting to the vicar! It was really really good! I ended up going into the religions I'd tried before and how after living in the US I was somewhat anti-religion because of how in your face it was. And how I would've liked at least some moral guidance when I was younger, even if I might have subsequently ignored it.

Then we talked about Christianity and the kind of church it is and how he values questioning and other people's point of views. It was just fab!

He left me with this glossy book called "This is our Faith" which is wonderful for a beginner like me. I just had no idea about how much love came into the religion! That probably seems silly, but I just didn't know. It also makes sense as it talks about the Bible as not always being fact but it being how the writers were expressing what they knew with their world view at the time and of course how things can change in translation.

We decided that I would get baptised at the same time as ds as I would like it done as soon as possible for him so I might as well do it and I could learn more afterwards. So it will be towards the end of the November, maybe early December, just need to finalise dates depending upon what services are happening. I decided to have it happen in the morning service because we want to be part of the community and that would be a lovely way to do it. I am so excited I have to say! It just feels so right.

Notquitegrownup Tue 23-Oct-07 19:10:19


I've followed your thread but not posted before. I'm so pleased for you! grin Your happiness shines through your post.

God bless.

ScaryScienceT Tue 23-Oct-07 19:21:16

God bless you, WCS. I am so happy for you. I can tell how excited you are by the tone of your writing.

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