Going to a new church for the first time can be a daunting experience, even if you are an experienced church-goer! Every congregation and building is different, and sometimes it is hard to know what to expect. Tabernacle is a lively, growing and modern church which seeks to help people discover, love and follow Jesus. We place a lot of emphasis on worshipping in a modern style, and on reading the Bible and discovering how this ancient book is still massively relevant for today.
What should I expect at Tabernacle?
Church is simply a group of people gathering to do a few things:
The main thing is to draw close to God in prayers and songs and to share in a time of fellowship and being a community.
We also learn about being a Christian through some teaching from the Bible. We believe the Bible is the main way which God speaks to his people, and so we place great value on hearing it read aloud and finding out how to apply its teaching in our modern context.
Sometimes we share bread and wine (called “Communion” or “The Lord’s Supper”) to remember Jesus’ death. We welcome all believers in Jesus to partake in this special meal, whatever their church background.
And also we pray for each other and the world – asking God’s spirit to bring healing and wholeness.
Our services on a Sunday are easy to follow and about 90 minutes long – words are shown on screens, so you don’t need books or service sheets. If you’re not sure what to do during the service just follow everyone else or, if you prefer, you can just remain seated throughout. No-one will be offended!
A collection is taken during the service, but if you are a visitor please feel free to let the collection bags pass you by. We do not want you to feel you have to give anything! In fact, most of our members give their financial gifts to the church through their bank accounts, so you will see that lots of people do not put anything into the bags!
Toilets are to be found downstairs, as are baby changing facilities and an accessible toilet suitable for use by people with limited mobility or a disability. If you require directions or assistance, please just ask.
What should I wear and where should I sit?
Basically, wear whatever you want! In general, we do not dress up in special clothes or ‘Sunday Best’ for services at Tabs. Most people will wear casual clothes, and women do not wear hats like they do in some congregations. The Pastor usually wears jeans and a casual shirt unless it is a special service such as a wedding or funeral. Please feel relaxed and wear whatever you are comfortable in.
If you are a visitor, you should be welcomed by one of our ‘welcome team’ who will help you find a seat. There are no reserved seats at Tabs, and you should sit wherever you feel comfortable. There is a gallery upstairs with extra seating, but be warned that the seats here are hard, old fashioned pews! In the main church area there is more comfortable seating, and there is also an induction loop to help those with hearing aids. Please turn your hearing aid to the ‘T’ setting. If you require a large print sheet with the words of the songs on, please ask the welcomer who greeted you when you arrived, or ask the person sat next to you.
What about children and young people?
Children and young people start the service in the main church for the first 30 minutes or so before having the opportunity to go to groups which are especially designed for them. These age relevant groups meet in various specialist rooms around the building and are supervised by trained volunteers. All our volunteers have done child protection training and hold a current child safeguarding certificate (DBS certificate).
If you follow the crowd with your child when the other children leave with for their groups, you will be met by someone who will show you where to go. You can then leave your child with their leader and will be told when to collect them at the end of the service. If you have any questions about children and young people, do not hesitate to ask one of the welcome team or stewards.
At the end of the service we serve fresh brewed coffee and a variety of teas. We hope you can stay on for a drink and give us an opportunity to say ‘hello’ properly. You should be given a welcome booklet with more details about the church, and if you want to know more about our services, mid-week groups and activities as a church, we hope you will just ask or email firstname.lastname@example.org