I am not sure if I believe in all that church / Christianity stuff. Am I still welcome in the church and will I be exposed to lots of interrogating questions?
Everyone is very welcome in the church, and there are no crusading monsters ready to pounce on you. Please watch, listen and enjoy the company of friendly people. You will be offered a cup of tea if the kettle is on.
Are you a lot of hypocritical, intollerant, holier than thou’s?
We try try try not to be. We aim to be humble, human, realistic and sincere. We pray to God that his light shines through us and not our egotistical id, but we are not perfect all the time. Our hearts are in the right plcae, but unfortunately, this sometimes works against us. Please forgive us, and accept us as we are, and enjoy our personalities.
Do I have to wear any special clothes to be acceptable?
No, just normal clothes will do.
Will I be asked to do anything I feel uncomfortable with?
No. Methodists do a lot of singing in Sunday Morning Worship. They do this standing up if they can manage, but you can sit, stand, sing or keep quite if you want. Some people find a monthly ritual called holy communion to be very intimodating. We always make it clear that everyone is very welcome to take part, but that anyone can be reassured that they are welcome to just watch.
Can I leave anytime I want?
Can I come with my babies and children?
You are all very welcome. During Sunday Morning Worship, there is a Sunday School, which will cater for any number of children of any age. The website youth section contains about 20 different clubs and activities for our younger friends. We appreciate your efforts in bringing your loved ones to see us. Thankyou for making our lives more colourful and vibrant.
I am / have a disabled friend, can you cater for our special need?
There may be some things we just cannot cope with, but generally we will try our best to cater for everyones needs, we delight in an inclusive church, and helping people, and have several regular friends with special needs. We are wheelchair, bicycle and buggy friendly.
Are you all indoctrinated mega-phone wielding Daleks?
The author of this text would run a mile.
What are the religious beliefs of those who come to the church?
We do not know absolutely. We do know about the views of many individuals who speak publicly or within house groups, and within the doctrine of broadly Christian, these views are very wide indeed. There are so many people who just come, who do not speak, and or come once or twice a year. If we did know, we expect their views would be even wider. The church is a melting pot of faith, enthusiasms, tolerance, and love of God and mankind, and not a clone generation system. We do not think many of us would take very well, to being told to be lemmings.
Some of us find everything claimed by every theologian, just too much to swallow, but the idea of life, the universe and everything occuring just randomly sure sounds a bit odd.
What are your thoughts on Divorce, Adultery, Gambling, Drinking, etc. etc?
The writer on this blog cannot make a full statement on the thoughts of everyone within the chuch, but we try and see everyone for their best, and what they can be. We try to be loving, tolerant, forgiving, helpful. We are NOT the thought police. Without undermining biblical moral teaching, Christianity teaches us to love the individual rather than voice the intolerance of the hypothetical !!!!!
Can I just pop in, sit down and see for myself?
Unless there is a ticket dinner (to provide sufficient food etc.) all events and activities are open to all (some are for children). Pop in anytime and attend as frequently, infrequently, or once only as you wish. If you find a visit during Sunday Morning Worship a bit too overwhelming, come to one of our clubs and activities, where you can take part, watch and socialise as little or as much as you want with friends of the church. See the wide range of social activities on this website.
Is the church a high or low church?
Compared to Catholocism or Anglicanism, the church is very low church in that we do not do much repeated ritualist activity. Sunday Morning Worship is a bit more traditional at Hedge End than some Methodist Churches, but we vary widely in our style from week to week. There is plenty of opportunity for Christian witness, humour, experimentation and humanity. The focus of Sunday Morning Worship is the Sermon, an interpretation and evaluation in relevant contemporary terms, of a short biblical subject or text.
Do you do traditional or modern services?
We try to avoid thinking of ourselves in these terms. Many of us shy clear of what might be termed “happy clappy”, and the church has a layout that is not condusive to some forms of worship. We want to make sure that over a period of some weeks there is a range of opportunities available for everyone, through formal service, community events and small house group. We try not to make “All age worship” into “No age worship”. Sometimes you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but we want to hit many different sweet spots through faith and experimentation over a period of time. There is so much to worshipping God, both in and outside communial worship.
Who takes the church services?
In a Methodist church there is not just one preacher. There is a rota of paid ministers, volunteer local preachers, worship leaders, guests and local arrangements. Different people, different approches and witnesses to God’s word and pilgrimage for mankind. Great!
Do I have to pay money?
Usually no, unless its for a dinner or other such thing. Attendance is free. Sunday Morning Worship is accompanied by a private collection which is without obligation, which goes to pay for the expenses of the church, or donations to charities.
I notice a lot of photos of people on posters etc. Will you do the same to me?
We take personal privacy and saefguarding seriously.
Can I bring my car?
There are a very small number of front and rear car spaces, we can reserve a space if you have mobility problems. The church lies outside the George Orwell zone.
What happens if I have an immediate need?
Toilets are in at the back of the church. Minor first aid, drinks, food etc are available. We usually have trained people to deal with minor emergencies including first aid. Parents are encouraged to feel comfortable with taking loved ones to the toilet or outside for a few minutes. Please ask if you need help.
I want to find out more about Christianity
With most things, it helps to share with other people. I would start by attending church services to get the feel of the content of a dozen sermons. Go to a variety of churches, not just this one, and hear what witnesses think and believe. See what Christians do or fail to do. Experiencing the faith and deeds of others is more valuable than words and theories. Question the world. Question God. Pray like a child for adult words can be too clever by far. I would recommend this book as a starter, but this is just one of hundreds. Read the new testament gospels of Mark (shortest) or John (most explanetory). You do not have to commit to any humanly run organisations. Life is an up and down experience of pain, sorrow, love and joy, Chritianity is not an escape clause. Take your time, for a patient, loving God is already with you. In years to come you may look back and realise you have turned a corner. Your life is important. Start doing something now.
What is all this Christianity stuff anyway?
Most people think of an omnipotent impassioned tyrant God, a general playing with pawns, and holding all the trump cards, leading from the rear, cleanly presented, he judges and stamps on humans. The God of death. How much like us when we gain too much power over others? We do not know all the answers, but the God who calls the attention of Christians feels, suffers and atones for all his children and all his creation. He carries humans in their time of need. The God of life. This is the wonder of a God living within the frailties of the life of a human being. The servant King. He leads from the front.