Worship is ‘what we do’! In many ways, it could be seen as the ‘shop-window’ of our parishes!
When we worship, we come together as a church family, and join our voices, hearts and minds together, to spend time with God; to listen, to pray, to celebrate, to sing, to comfort and be comforted, to support and be supported; to receive all that God would give us and say to us in worship and in receiving his grace through Holy Communion. Everyone is always very welcome to any of our services.
Over the month, we have a variety of services…
Traditional (said) Holy Communion Service
Each Sunday morning, there is a celebration of Holy Communion (traditional form) at 8.30. This is a quiet reflective service – there are no hymns or music. The service alternates month about between the two churches.
Our ‘main’ morning services are at 10.00 in St Thomas’ Church and at 11.30 in St Philip and St James’ Church, on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th Sundays of the month, September – June.
On the 1st Sunday and 3rd Sundays of the month, we have Holy Communion, and on the 2nd and 5th Sundays, Morning Prayer.
On the 4th Sunday of the month, and every Sunday in July and August, we have a united service at 10.30 in one of our churches.
After the 10.00 and 10.30 services, regardless of which church the service is in, everyone is warmly invited to tea/coffee in the respective parish hall. In St Philip and St James’ Church, when the Service is at 11.30, tea/coffee is served at the back of the church from 11.00-11.30. Having tea/coffee before or after the service, gives us a chance to have a chat and a catch-up, and to welcome new people or visitors.
Every Wednesday at 10.30, we have a said Holy Communion Service in St Thomas’ Church, followed by a cup of tea or coffee at the back of the church. At this Service, we pray for everyone on our Healer Prayer List – our Healer Prayer List is a list of people whom have asked for prayer – and we also observe holy days and saints’ days at this Service.
The Sausage Service
Many of our young people play sport on a Sunday morning. For our families there is the dilemma of wanting their children to play sport but also wanting to be part of the worshipping community, so once a month on the 2nd Sunday of the month, at 19.00, we have a short, informal Service (lasting about 20 – 25 minutes) in St Philip and St James’ Church, and afterwards we scoot over to the Parish Centre and have sausages and potato wedges! Originally, it was called TJP – Time of Joint Praise – using the initials of the three saints associated with our churches: Thomas, James and Philip – but everyone just calls it The Sausage Service!!!
Other Special Services
Throughout the year, we have lots of special or different services, which we hope help people to worship and be nurtured and nourished in their faith.
A Quiet Christmas
We recognise that many people, for a variety of reasons, do not want to do the whole razz-ma-tazz thing of Christmas… maybe because they, or a loved one, has been ill, or they are bereaved, or they are going through a difficult time…
On the Sunday before Christmas, we have a quiet, reflective service at 10.00 in St Thomas’ Church, to enable people to hear the good news of Christ’s birth; that Christ came particularly for those who were struggling, who were sick, who felt alienated or marginalised… that Christ is the Christ of the struggling and not the Christ of the baubles and tinsel…
We ask people not to bring young children to this Service… as quiet and children are not often a reality!… and instead we suggest that the Christingle Service that morning might be more appropriate for children
In complete contrast to the ‘Quiet Christmas’, on the Sunday before Christmas at 11.30 in St Philip and St James’ Church, we use the old Moravian custom of the Christingle, with the children, to anticipate the celebration of Christmas. Our Sunday Clubs participate actively in this Service and it would be fair to say that it is anything but quiet!!
Our celebration of Christmas begins with Holy Communion on Christmas Eve at 23.30 in St Thomas’ Church and continue on Christmas Day with Holy Communion at 8.30 in St Philip and St James’ Church, Family Holy Communion at 10.00 in St Thomas’ Church and Family Holy Communion in St Philip and St James’ Church at 11.30.
Holy Week and Easter
Holy Week is a very important week for Christians. During Holy Week, we hold a Service each evening alternating between our two churches, and we take a theme or thread upon which we reflect each evening. On Maundy Thursday, we celebrate Holy Communion and for the past few years, we have had a Seder (or Passover meal) that evening.
On Good Friday, we have a ‘Meditation on the Cross’ in St Thomas’ Church 14.00 – 15.00 and that evening we join with our neighbours from St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and the Church of the Assumption (Roman Catholic) in the Church of the Assumption on Booterstown Avenue for Prayers at the Cross.
On Easter Sunday morning, we join with lots of different churches from the area, at sun rise – yes! at dawn! – on Sandymount Strand and celebrate the Sonrise! After that we have Services at 8.30, 10.00 and 11.30.
Service of Wholeness and Healing with the Laying-on-of-Hands
Periodically, usually about two or three times a year, on the 5th Sunday of the month at 10.00 and 11.30, we have a Service of Wholeness and Healing with the Laying-on-of-Hands. At this Service, we bring to God people and situations, for his healing touch. At a particular point in the Service, people may come forward to the communion rails to have hands laid on them, and to pray for themselves and/or someone else.
Each year in the autumn, we have a Harvest Thanksgiving Service at which we give thanks to God for fruits of the earth and those who work to produce food and the things that we use every day. An essential part of giving thanks is to share what we have with those who have little, and at that Service, the offering is in aid of an organisation that works in bringing relief and/or aiding development. The church is decorated with flower, fruit and vegetables and after the Service, the flowers are sent to parishioners who are house-bound or in hospital, and the fruit and vegetables to the Dublin SIMON community to assist with their soup runs.
Start-of-the-Year School Service
At the united service on the 4th Sunday of September, which is held in St Philip and St James’ Church, the pupils, parents and staff of Booterstown National School, help lead the Service in asking God’s blessing on the School in the year ahead.
Every second year, this service is combined with the Harvest Thanksgiving.
Blessing of the Animals
This takes place each year at the united service on the 4th Sunday of May, which is held in St Philip and St James’ Church. Parishioners and their friends bring their animals to the church and we celebrate the gift that animals are to our world and at the end of the Service, there is tea/coffee in the Parish Hall, and lots of bowls of water for the animals! All sorts of creatures are brought to the Service: dogs, cats, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, budgies, canaries, hens, etc.
Founder’s Day Service for Scouting
The united service on the 4th Sunday of February is held in St Thomas’ Church, and at this service, we are joined by our Cubs and Scouts. 22nd February is the birthday of Lord Robert Baden-Powell who founded his scouting and of his wife Olave who founded guiding. Scouting celebrates 22nd February as Founder’s Day and Guiding celebrates it as Thinking Day. On the Sunday nearest the 22nd February each year, scouts and guides all over the world remember with thanksgiving Lord and Lady Baden-Powell and celebrate the gift that scouting and guiding are.
The Cubs and Scouts take an active part in leading our Service that morning; a Service which is specially designed for scouting, with the penitential rite and other parts of the Service based on the Law and the Promise.