Visiting a church for the first time can be nervewracking! Where will I sit? What should I wear? Will they expect me to know the songs or the prayers? Will they be… weird?

Above all you will be extremely welcome! There will be someone at the door to say “Hi”, to help you find a seat if you’ve never been before and to show you where to find important things like loos, kids’ groups and where to get a coffee afterwards. Most of us dress casual, a few might put on a tie but jeans are far more the norm – however you feel most comfortable really. Here are a few other things you might want to know…

Getting here

The church building is on the corner of Thornhill Park Road and Woodlands Close at SO18 5TR. We have a carpark each side of the building – go to the left if you need to be able to get away quickly after the service or go to the right if you are going to stay for coffee and don’t mind being blocked in. We also have the use of the carpark in Ladies Walk Surgery which is opposite the church. Please avoid parking down Woodlands Close as it can obstruct our neighbours.


Both entrances to our building are step-free and the building is all on one floor and with an accessible toilet. We have a hearing-aid loop and provide large print words on paper for anyone who would struggle to read the song words on the screens.

The service itself

The service starts at 10.30am and generally finishes between 11.45am and 12.00pm. Our services don’t follow a set pattern or words out of a service book, so they are quite varied in content. There will normally be a few songs with words projected on screens, some prayers and a sermon, which is a talk about some part of the Bible. There will often be opportunities to participate, perhaps to pray out loud or to share a story of what God has done in your life, but you will NEVER be put on the spot, it would only ever be an open invitation for anyone who wants to participate. We think church should be fun and friendly, definitely serious but never dull, and relevant to real life in the 21st century not a history lesson.

What about the kids?

We have groups in parallel with the morning service for every age group up to year 9, our older teenagers normally stay in the service. Children in school years R to 5 have a group called Xtreme which starts at the same time as the service, and parents are welcome to go into the group with their children until they find their way around and feel at home. There is a crèche for pre-school children and Transform for young people in years 6 to 9. Both of these groups start off in the service and go out after the first 15 minutes or so, which means that we are quite used to a bit of noise in that first part of the service so please don’t feel embarrassed if your child contributes out loud! Obviously crèche parents normally take their children to the group and you are welcome to stay if your child needs you there, but also very welcome to leave the children with our experienced helpers. Of course, all of our youth and children’s leaders are DBS checked and safeguarding trained.

After the service

If you can, why not plan to stay around for a few minutes afterwards? We have tea and coffee and most of us hang around to chat. We know that it can feel daunting walking into a lounge full of people that you don’t know, but we’re a friendly crowd and you will soon feel right at home. Church is much more than a service after all…