A guide to coming to one of our services

What to expect if you come to a service in the churches of the

Parish of Horndon on the Hill, Orsett and Bulphan

It is likely that some things about your first church visit, or as a regular churchgoer visiting a different church, may not be what you expect. This guide is to try and help you prepare for a visit to our church services.

What time is the service?

Our main Sunday morning services are at 10 o’clock, with a Holy Communion at 8.45am on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sundays.  We would advise to arrive 15 minutes before the start time, which gives time to settle.  If you are late do not worry, come and join us.

We are one Parish with three churches and our Sunday morning services rotate around the Parish every 3 weeks, this is to ensure our vicar is better able to meet people. 

To find out which church has the service(s) that week please refer to our website www.hobnob.org.uk/services/forthcoming/

Can I park my car?

There is no large dedicated parking at any of our churches, so we have to park on the street or nearby.  However, at Orsett there is limited parking in Orsett Churches Centre, just across the road from the church.  At Bulphan there is a small parking area at the front of the church, the alternatives are Bulphan Primary School car park, about 150m from the church or Bulphan Village Hall about 300m from the church.

How long will it last?

The 10 o’clock services last about an hour and the 8.45 Holy Communion services last around 30 minutes.


We have ramps we can put in place for wheelchairs and pushchairs.  We have large print service sheets and hymn books, and, hearing aid loops.

Are there toilets?

We have toilets in all 3 churches and they all have baby changing facilities.

Will people talk to me?

As you enter you will be greeted very informally, given a hymn book and service sheet. Sometimes we have additional sheets or screen projections (Horndon and Orsett) for songs not in our hymn books.  If you have any questions please ask.

If you are new to us the Vicar will come and speak with you, again, very informally.

Where can I sit?

All of our churches have “pews” and you can sit anywhere, unless it is a baptism/christening when the front couple of rows are reserved for immediate family, Godparents and friends of those being baptised.

How will I know what hymns will be sung?

We have the hymn numbers on display which you can find in the hymn books.  You may see the word “screen” or “sheet” on the hymn board.  Orsett and Horndon have a screen where we project the words of hymns not in the hymn book, at other times you will receive a sheet with the words on.  But if you don’t feel comfortable or know the tune please don’t feel compelled to sing.  Many regular churchgoers don’t always sing.

Can I follow the service?

The service book has the running order for the service and as the service progresses the person leading the service gives prompts as to what to do.  We say the words in bold in the service book, unless told otherwise.  However like singing this isn’t compulsory.

The Peace

Like many congregations we pass “the peace” during the service, this can be done in many ways, but the most often used is a handshake.  Again for people new to church it can seem somewhat daunting to be approached by a stranger offering their hand.  This lasts 5 to 10 minutes, as people move around the church.

Holy Communion

Holy Communion services are the ones that can make people more anxious.  It is not compulsory to take Communion, if you do not want to take Communion, when asked if you want to just say no thank you and no more will be said.  There are people who attend Holy Communion services for many years and never take communion.  If you are unable to ‘go up’ but would like to take Communion or have a blessing, let us know and it can be done where you are sitting.

If you do, you can decide to only take the bread and not the wine, or, if you do not want to take either keep your hands by your side or take the order of service with you, the vicar will know and give you a blessing.

Can I bring my children?

We welcome children into our churches.

Our 10 o’clock Holy Communion services have children’s activities, and at other times there are toys and things for younger children to play with or do.  Our activity leaders are very experienced working with children, DBS cleared and completed safeguarding training, as have many ‘Church officers’ within our parish.

Children will be restless at times.  The majority of people who go to church have brought young children to services and fully appreciate the situation.  It is fine if you want to bring snacks and drinks for them to consume during the service.  

The collection

This is another part of the church experience that causes some unease in those coming for the first time.

When the collection is taken, please bear in mind the amount it costs to keep our churches open.  If you can give, only do what you feel you can afford.  If you do not have any cash we have a card reader and QR code for giving.

After the service?

After the main service we have refreshments and everyone is invited to stay.  This gives people a chance to chat and catch up.  As someone new it’s an opportunity for us to get to know each other a bit better.

I can’t make Sunday mornings, are there services at other times?

We fully appreciate that in modern society people have hectic lives and attending Sunday morning services does not always fit in.  To accommodate this we have regular services at other times.

For details of these and our Sunday morning services please refer to our website www.hobnob.org.uk/services/types-of-service/.

We hope this encourages you to come along and make the first time not so daunting.

If you have queries about anything please contact the Churchwardens or Vicar.