We celebrate God’s presence in our lives in liturgies both ancient and modern. All are welcome to join us at any of our 23 services a week.
The Eucharist (or Holy Communion or Mass) is the central act of Christian worship. This is celebrated on Sundays and each day throughout the week. At Communion we welcome all Christians of any denomination who receive the sacrament of bread and wine in their own church to receive with us. We also welcome those who are unable to do this to come forward to the altar for a blessing. Through our community celebration of the Eucharist, we tell the story of God with his people throughout history, and proclaim that this God, revealed to us in Jesus Christ, is real among us in the sacrament that we share.
Morning and Evening Prayer provide the heartbeat of our daily worshipping life with the daily reading of the Scriptures and saying of the Psalms. This prayerful presence provides a structure that shapes our life as a Christian community.
Bread For the World, Wednesdays 6.30pm
Time To Heal, Sunday 7.00pm (3rd Sunday of the month)
A new monthly service of healing of prayer, music and silence where the laying on of hands and anointing of oil will be offered. Healing is also offered on the first Sunday of the month after the 10.00am Parish Eucharist service and in other contexts ranging from small reflective Eucharist services through to an annual celebration at St Luke’s day in October.
Weekday Choral Services:
A weekday highlight are Choral Evensong on Mondays at 4.30pm and Choral Eucharist on Wednesdays at 1.00pm with the choral scholars of St Martin’s. See church music for further information about our choral scholar programme.
Great Sacred Music
Revd Dr Sam Wells explores the story and the meaning behind the music of our religious heritage, with St Martin’s Voices (directed by Andrew Earis). Thursdays at 1.00pm.
Services of the Christian Year
In addition to the regular weekly pattern of services, the events of the Christian year give a seasonal flavour to much of our worship. There are also special occasions to celebrate or commemorate particular events in the life of this particular Christian community, for example St Martin’s Day in November or services of commemoration such as the Memorial Service for those who have died homeless. Other liturgies to mark significant individual or community events are developed through Liturgies for Life (see below).
We believe that worship should be accessible to all, especially those who are unfamiliar with church services and so we try to ensure that services are easy to follow and to participate in fully. Many of our services are taken from the Church of England’s Common Worship book and use contemporary language acknowledging the responsibility we have to proclaim a living faith in ways that speak to our society. We also recognise the significance of the Anglican tradition of which we are part and the rich contribution made to our worshipping life by services such as Choral Evensong, which follow very closely the pattern of the Book of Common Prayer (1662). In all our services, we ensure that everyone has the text and that clear instructions are given to enable all to participate as fully as they wish. Large print copies of our services are available from the stewards.
Language in Worship
St Martin’s seeks to use language in worship which reflects both what we believe about God and what we believe about each other – namely that all people are equal, and that God’s being embraces us all. We use gender inclusive language texts from the Church of England’s liturgy Common Worship. We have made other minimal but symbolically important alterations to texts so as to reflect our commitment to an inclusive theology. In some liturgy we include texts which expand our vision of God beyond the tradition that is heavily dominated by male imagery. We also recognise that there are much loved historical texts that should maintain their poetic integrity and so remain unaltered. We read from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible which uses inclusive language in references to men and women wherever possible without altering passages that reflect the historical situation of ancient patriarchal culture. These changes are part of a process of reflection and prayer that will continue as the usage and meaning of language evolves.
Liturgies for Life
A Theological Perspective
We are all on a journey through life and as Christians we are called to reflect on God’s presence with us on that journey. We acknowledge God as the Alpha and Omega, the starting point and ending point of our journey, and recognise also the guiding presence of the Spirit in all that comes between the beginning and the end.
Life is an accompanied journey, and the experience of God’s presence can be conveyed in a very real way by the Church, which is itself a pilgrim people, a people living the journey of life and faith through prayer, worship, celebration and pastoral care.
From its earliest days, the Church has seen the importance of marking significant stages on the journey of life and faith through specific liturgies such as baptism, marriage and funeral services. Services of wholeness and healing have allowed for reflection on God’s presence in times of sickness, and the sacrament of reconciliation has offered the hope of forgiveness and renewal at time of difficulty in life.
Alongside and complementary to these have developed other forms of service such as:
The Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child – provides for the public or private celebration of a birth or adoption of a child. This may be a step towards Baptism or may stand alone as liturgy of celebration and thankfulness.
Prayer and Dedication after Civil Marriage and Thanksgiving for Marriage – which may be used appropriately to reaffirm marriage vows to celebrate an anniversary, or after a time of separation or difficulty in marriage.
Service of Prayer and Preparation prior to a Funeral Service and Memorial Services after a Funeral Service
These liturgies reflect the abiding presence of the faithful God, who is yet ever doing new things and leading his people on through life’s pilgrimage.
Responding to Contemporary Needs
The liturgy of the church, while rooted in scripture and tradition, needs also to respond flexibly to the changing needs of life’s journey and the pastoral situations which arise on that journey. It is increasingly recognised that there are other occasions in the life of individuals or groups when celebration, thanksgiving, penitence or sorrow might find expression in the liturgy of the Church. Retirement, a change of work, home or family circumstances are all occasions for reflection on the presence of God with us through new experiences of both joy and challenge which may find appropriate expression in the liturgy of the church.
The Parochial Church Council has agreed that there may be circumstances in which “A Service of Prayer and Dedication after a Civil Partnership” would be appropriate at St. Martin’s. In keeping with our overall approach to “Liturgies for life”, such a service would be regarded as primarily a pastoral occasion and an appropriate response to the needs of individuals within the St. Martin’s community.
What can St Martin’s offer
The clergy team at St Martin’s is committed to offering appropriate care and support to individuals during such times of change. In particular, when individuals or groups feel it appropriate to mark a stage in life’s journey, to express thanksgiving or to reflect on a specific experience through an act of prayer and worship, the clergy are glad to discuss the form a service might take, to make suggestions as to content, and to provide practical support in arranging and conducting the service.