Church is not simply a social gathering, a religious club or a friendship circle – it is a time to gather together and encounter the living God. Church members should feel confident to explain what church is all about and how their faith shapes them. Church is a place where everybody should feel welcome – whatever their age or background.
Here at St John’s we believe a warm greeting is a crucial first step in making someone feel welcome. If no-
What is also important is that visitors know what’s happening in the service. If you are new to our church, attending a service can feel like entering a new country with strange customs and unfamiliar language or vocabulary. Different churches will often have different ways of doing the same thing, so to help make newcomers feel welcome, we try to explain what the ‘congregation’ take for granted, so offer a Mass book so that you can follow the service step by step.
The signs and symbols used in the Church’s liturgy provide us with a great opportunity for reflection. These simple elements of everyday life invite us to reflect on the mystery of our faith. Many times we do things without knowing why but we do it any way. Because we have always done it that way and no one ever has taken the time to find out why themselves. We just go through life doing things that we have no idea why we do what we do. So why do we do some of the things we do in church?
Why We Make the Sign Of The Cross
Making the sign of the Cross is part of worship throughout the Christian Church. In the Western Church, including the Church of England it is usually made with the right hand. The Sign of the Cross expresses blessing. It symbolizes God’s blessing, and God embracing us with blessings. In the sign we express our belief in God from whom all our blessings flow and embrace our good God with mind and heart and all of our strength.
Why We Light Candles
Light is something that most people take so much for granted, that we hardly give it a second thought. The need for light is fundamental. There can be no life without light. It will come as no surprise, then, to learn that images of light and darkness recur throughout the Bible.
Why We Burn Incense
What is Incense? Incense is made from various aromatic resins and gums taken from trees and other plants. When burned it gives off scented smoke. In church it is normally burned in a censer or thurible. Because it is difficult to burn on its own, and to create the maximum amount of smoke, it is burned along with charcoal.
Why We Anoint with Oil
Oil has always been the 'life-
Why We Ask For The Prayers of The Saints
Some people ask “why say prayers to saints? Shouldn’t all our prayers be to God?” Praying to the saints is praying to God, in a fundamental way. We're praying to those who can ask God to help us in our various needs in accordance with His will.
When you ask someone to pray for you are you worshiping that person? Of course not! It’s the same when we ask the saints to pray for us! In our prayers to saints we ask them to “put in a good word” for us with God in Heaven. They are not the focus of our worship, God is.
We fully support the diocesans objective where every Christian and local church has a compelling vision and plan for 'growing disciples, wider, younger and deeper.' Serving God together we can make a bigger difference in the communities where we live and serve.
St John’s embraces the diocesan vision of growing discipleship anjd reaching out to the wider community and joining together with other parishes in the diocese in transforming mission of God. St John’s has a distinct style of worship within the catholic tradition and we try to explain about it here.
The Diocesan Vision is printed below:-