A Welcoming Church at the Heart of the Community…..
The family of Holy Cross Church, Bilbrook have worship at the centre of their life together, with a long tradition of Modern Catholic Eucharistic worship taking place throughout the week. During the vacancy we have concentrated on developing “Every Member Ministry” by encouraging our congregation that they all have a part to play as a member of God’s family in Bilbrook. This has led to a strengthening of our work in the community, both pastorally and spiritually, as well as empowering our congregation to think about their gifts. The church sees itself very much as the church ministering to and serving to the village, and not our own interests. We therefore welcome people from all church traditions, and pray that our worship will speak to all as we constantly strive to introduce our congregation to many and varied new expressions of worshipping our God.
Styles and Traditions of Worship @ Holy Cross
For many years the worship at Holy Cross has been very traditional with a leaning towards the Modern Catholic tradition. However in recent years the church has broadened the worship on offer to the parish. This has included a ‘Celebration’ service once a month at the main Sunday morning worship slot. The Celebration service still has the Eucharist at its heart, but the style of worship is more inclusive, the talk is aimed at the younger members of the congregation and the songs are led by our music group with piano, drums and vocals. The service is planned by an enthusiastic group led by our Reader and Youth Worker.
A recent visitor wrote of Holy Cross in their own Parish Magazine “We were a little early and caught the end of their service – young people were playing instruments to a hymn. I was drawn to listen to one of my favourite hymns, a real heart lifter. The church was full of young families with children of all ages and every age group! What a lit up church it was, we could learn something from them!”
Our main Sunday morning worship follows the liturgy of Common Worship Order One where we have produced booklets for different seasons of the church’s year. We worship God with all our senses through speech and listening, through sight, sound and smell and the clergy wear full vestments supported by robed servers. The use of incense at the Gospel and at the altar prior to the Eucharistic prayer is important to us at Holy Cross, as is our tradition of music and choral leadership of the worship.
Eight members of our congregation hold a licence to officiate as a Eucharistic Minister at Communion services. Three members holds a licence for extended communion in people’s homes.
Five members of the congregation lead the intercessions at the main Sunday morning service on a rota basis.
The regular congregation tends to be of a high average age. There can be eight to ten young families with up to 20 children if they all come on the same Sunday! We provide Sunday Club in the Parish Centre for the older children and a crèche at the back of church during the Sunday morning service. Sunday Club join us for Communion and spend some time at the end of the service telling us what they have learnt that morning. Average Sunday attendance is around 60 with 70% being adults and 30% children. Every Sunday we serve Refreshments in the hall afterwards, with tables and chairs set out to encourage mixing and a chat.
We hold a said Eucharist at 8.00am on the first and third Sunday of each month. The first Sunday is from Common Worship and the third takes the form of BCP. Average attendance for this service is around 9 adults.
Said Eucharist is also held throughout the week with a Wednesday service at 7.00pm, a Thursday service at 9.30am and a Friday service at 12.00 midday followed by lunch in the Parish Centre. The attendance at the Wednesday service tends to be people from our main congregation who either want a mid-week top up or missed worship on Sunday. The Thursday and Friday congregation are separate congregations who very rarely attend the main Sunday morning Eucharist.