Welcome to St Paul's Goodmayes
First time to Saint Paul’s?
The Sunday morning service is at 10 am. Everyone is welcome to come along and join in the worship. It can be a little daunting to go to a church service if you haven’t been to a particular church before. We aim to make all visitors feel welcome when they arrive, and hopefully this page will help make some sense of what to expect on a Sunday morning.
What to wear?
There is no dress code at St Paul’s. Some people dress up quite formally. Others come in their running gear. So long as you are decent (!), anything goes.
Structure of the service
We have a communion service every Sunday, where bread and wine are blessed and shared. There is a booklet which contains the prayers we say, some of which are said by the leader (the vicar) and some of which (usually printed in bold) we all say together. We sing together too, but you don’t need to worry about joining in if it’s not familiar to you! If you find yourself getting lost, just look over at what someone else is doing, or someone will be able to help you out with the part we have reached. The vicar and some others in the church wear robes for the service. You may also see people doing things like making the sign of the cross, or bowing their heads at certain times. Feel free to do what is comfortable for you. Some parts of the service we stand up and at other times we sit down. If you are unable to do this easily, don’t worry about it.
We use bells to signal different parts of the service and can use candles and incense too. So, we use all our senses to help us in our worship!
Communion is where we share bread and wine in the way that Jesus did with his disciples. This is towards the end of the service after the vicar has led us in prayer. We come to the front of the church, usually a row at a time. The vicar will place the bread in your outstretched hands. You can then move to the side to take the wine, if you wish.
If you don’t feel comfortable taking communion, you are more than welcome to come forward to receive a blessing. Some people like to bring their children up for this too. The vicar will ask your name and pray for you.
If you need gluten free wafers or if you need to take communion in your seat, please speak to someone before the service begins.
There is a small plate at the front of the church where people can place their collection money when they come up for communion. This money goes to support the church and its work in the area. Some put their money in envelopes as part of the church’s Stewardship scheme, but some give money through their bank. If you don’t put any money in the plate, no-one will think anything of it. If you want to contribute in some other way, please ask.
Children are welcome in church. Younger children usually stay with their parents but, from the age of 4 to about 12, children can also join the Sunday Squad (Sunday School) which usually runs on the first and third Sundays of the month. The children and their leaders leave the church after the first hymn, to go to the Community Centre next-door. They usually come back just before the preparation for Communion begins. They sit with their parents when they come back in. Have a look at the children and young people section on the website for more details. On the second Sunday of the month there is no Sunday Squad. We hold Messy Church 4-6pm. Do ask if you would like more information about this. On the last Sunday of the month we hold an All Age Service, where the children take an active part in leading our worship.
There is a space at the back of the church with some toys and books for younger children, designed to help them participate in the service. Do not worry if they are noisy. The vicar is sometimes noisy too!
St Paul’s makes every effort to be open to everyone. The service booklet is available in large print if that helps you. There is a ramp to help wheelchair and pushchair users get into the church. A loop system is fitted for people with hearing aids. Unfortunately, we do not currently have disabled toilet facilities. If you have any particular needs, please ask someone for help.
Sometimes things are different …
There are times when we have slightly different services. For example, the last Sunday in the month is usually an All-Age service, where things are sometimes a little more interactive! We also can make changes for the important festivals, like Christmas, Easter, Remembrance Sunday, Harvest Festival … But whenever you come, you will be welcomed and helped to participate in the service as much as you are comfortable with.
After the service
Most Sundays we have tea, coffee, biscuits (and sometimes cake!) after the service at the side of the church. It’s a chance to chat and catch up with each other. You are very welcome to stay and find out more about us. We hope you will be back soon!