We know that coming to a church for the first time can be a bit nerve-wracking when you don’t know what to expect, whether you’re a regular church-goer elsewhere or have never come to a service before. We hope this page will help to explain some of the things you need to know. If you have any questions, please do feel free to give Mark a ring [01608 676572] or email him here.
We have four churches, and we rotate our services around them. You can find out where services are being held in any particular week in the Benefice diary, or in our weekly Bulletin available to download or subscribe to here.
A description of how to find our Churches and where to park can be found by clicking on the tab ‘Find us’ in the top menu bar of our website or here. We have two churches with toilet facilities: St Nicholas at Chadlington, and St Kenelm’s at Enstone. All of our churches are accessible for wheelchairs. Ascott-under-Wychwood has steps into the porch and Church, but we have some portable ramps to make things easier. If they are not out when you arrive, a member of the congregation will be happy to get them for you – just ask.
If you want o find out more about each of the Church buildings, we have information on each of them here. They are well worth exploring! All our churches are open from dawn to dusk, and you are very welcome to come at any time for personal prayer or just to sit in peace.
Joining Us at a Service
When you arrive, you will be given a hymn book and service booklet. If you would like some help, please ask, and we will make sure that someone explains what to expect and, if you like, sit with you.
There’s no dress code. Some people like to dress formally, and others turn up in tee shirts and jeans. It’s up to you.
We love to see children in the Church, and we have toys and books for them. Don’t worry if they make a noise or want to explore! We would just ask you to keep an eye on them to make sure they’re safe.
Don’t worry about sitting in someone else’s favourite seat – you can sit where you feel most comfortable. Top tip – sit with at least a few people in front of you so you can see when we normally stand or sit. You’ll see that people who don’t feel comfortable kneeling or find it challenging to stand feel free to sit instead.
But nothing is compulsory! You can join in when you want or just sit to watch and listen. We have booklets which contain the materials you need. Most of our services are based on the Church of England’s Common Worship. You can explore it here. It looks complicated because it offers lots of choices of prayers, but our booklets are simpler to follow.
You are very welcome to stay after the service for coffee. We would love to get to know you, and please do introduce yourself to Mark or Ilona. They are easy to spot because they will be dressed up in robes. The dog collars are also a bit of a giveaway!
We offer a number of different services. Some are occasional, for example at Christmas or Harvest time. Others are offered regularly throughout the year, and you can see a brief description here.
Our main Sunday service, the 10 a.m. Communion, takes about an hour. It can be a bit of a mystery for people who are new to church-going, so here is a brief explanation!
It has a four-fold structure.
- We gather and greet each other, and prepare ourselves by confessing what we have done wrong, ask for help to do better and receive forgiveness.
- Then we listen to readings from the Bible and a sermon which is usually about 10-12 minutes long and which explores the relevance and meaning of one or more of the readings for our ordinary lives. We also recite a statement of belief and pray for others.
- The third part is the Communion (also known as the Eucharist). In this part of the service, we wish each other peace, remember the Last Supper and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sakes. We do this by prayer and the taking of bread and wine. If you are baptised, you are very welcome to take Communion. If you wish, it is perfectly fine just to stay in your seat during this part of the service. Or come up and receive a blessing instead!
- After a prayer of thanksgiving for Christ’s sacrifice, we move to the fourth and final part of the service, which consists of a blessing and a dismissal to go out in the world.
We sing hymns at different points of the service. Feel free to join in!
We are enormously grateful for any financial contribution made during the collection, but it is not obligatory. Many people pay by standing order so not everyone will put something in the collection. There’s no need to feel embarrassed if you don’t want to put money in the bag or you haven’t got any change in your pocket.
We hope that this has given you a flavour of what to expect at services in the Chase Benefice. Rest assured you will receive a very warm welcome when you are able to join us and we hope to meet with you soon.