What to expect

If you have never been to one of our services, or even to Church at all, you may be nervous and wondering what to expect. After all, nobody wants to get up, sit down or sing at the wrong time and draw attention to themselves! Please do not worry – you will find a very warm and relaxed welcome at Thatcham URC. But to give you a bit of an idea, this is what happens in a typical service.

On arrival you will be greeted and given an order of service and a hymnbook if needed. Make your way to any seat. We try not to be precious about where we sit! Five minutes before the service begins, the Duty Elder will light the candles at the front of the church. This is the signal for the congregation to finish their conversations and prepare quietly for the service ahead.

The Minister and Duty Elder enter carrying the Bible and the congregation stands (those who are able). The Elder will then read the notices and the service begins.

During the service there are prayers (including the Lord’s Prayer which is said together), talks, readings and hymns. We stand for the Hymns but sit for everything else. Different members of the congregation will bring the readings.

During the service the offertory is collected by Elders who pass the bag around the pews. Feel free to give as you see fit or to just pass the bag on if you do not wish to. Please do not feel obliged to donate.

We also have a time to share birthdays and family news, and will even sing Happy Birthday to anybody who has a birthday that week! Please feel free to give any news to the Duty Elder on arrival, or just speak up during this part of the service.

At the end of the final Hymn, the congregation remains standing for the Blessing and while the Bible is carried from the Church.

Please feel free to stay quietly in your seat, chat to a neighbour or join us for a cup of tea or coffee across the lobby in the British School (the hall!).

Our services are quite informal and we welcome small children to stay in the service with their parents – there is a small area in the Church set up with books and toys to help keep them amused.

Café Services (held when there is a fifth Sunday in the month) are even less formal and are held in the hall next door, seated around tables. There is often an activity to do during the service, and music is provided by the Church Band. Tea and Coffee (and sometimes other snacks!) are served before and after the service.