Getting involved

Here are St Matthew's we have a wide range of groups and activities - there is something for everyone and everyone is welcome to join in. In addition to the activities listed here, you may also like to join our choir, help with Children's Worship or join the Leadership Team to help organise social events.

Below are some of the many ways you can get involved

The Altar Servers

Serving at the altar is very exciting and a great privilege. Anyone over the age of six can be involved and there are lots of different roles with interesting names: boat boy, taperer, acolyte, thurifer, crucifer and ‘MC’, which stands for the important sounding job of Master of Ceremonies!

st matthews church altar servers
st matthews church altar servers

The ‘MC’ is responsible for the smooth working of the altar team – for ensuring that everyone is in the right place at the right time so that the priest can pray the mass. He or she will also hold the altar book for the priest. The MC is an experienced server.

The Crucifer is the person who carries the big processional cross. We have different crosses for different times in the year. Normally we have a large, decorated cross but in Advent and Lent we have smaller crosses to reflect the mood of the season.

The Acolytes and Taperers work in pairs and they both carry candles. In the olden days, when churches weren’t lit quite so brightly, they had a very important role ensuring that when the Gospel procession went down into the church there was enough light on the Gospel book for the priest or deacon to be able to read it. They also fulfil other roles at the altar, such as bringing the vessels to the altar so that it can be laid up for mass and helping the priest wash his or her hands.

The Thurifer is the person who swings the thurible (or ‘metal handbag’ as it has been called). The thurible contains burning coals and the incense. The job of the thurifer is to light the coals and ensure there are enough burning coals for the times in the service when incense needs to be burned (at the beginning, for the Gospel reading and when the gifts on the altar are censed).

The Boat Boy/Girl carries the ‘boat’ (obviously!) which is actually the vessel which has the incense in it. He or she stays by the side of the Thurifer and offers the boat to the priest when he or she needs to put incense on the thurible. This role is normally undertaken by one of our younger servers.

At St Matthew’s we have an excellent team of Altar Servers, led by Head Server William Varlow. If you are interested in joining them, please speak to William, or to a member of the clergy.

The Welcomers

st matthews church welcomers

The job of the Welcome Team is pretty self-evident from the name! When people arrive at church they need the right service book and a friendly face to hand it to them. The Team also organise the offertory – two or three people to take up the bread and the wine when the altar is being prepared for communion. They also hand round the plate for the collection and take it up to the altar. They participate fully in the service from the back of the church and sing confidently in the hymns. After the service they clear away the books and join the throng for coffee. Throughout all of these duties they are approachable, helpful and they smile, smile, smile (but not in a scary way!)

The Welcomers perform a very important role as they are often the first point of contact for someone coming into the church. If you would like to join the Welcome Team please speak to Mthr Helen.

The Readers and Intercessors

At St Matthew’s we have a large team of people who read the Bible lesson on a Sunday morning, and a slightly smaller group of people who lead the prayers.

Reading in church is a good way of being involved and anyone with a clear voice can participate, whatever their age. People on the rota normally end up reading about once per month.

Leading the prayers during mass is an important responsibility. It involves being aware of what is going on in the church and the world and bringing the concerns of the people before God to ask for his help. We also pray regularly for all those who have asked for our prayers: those who are sick or in any kind of need and those who have died and the friends and family who mourn them. If you would like to be trained to lead the intercessions, please speak to Mthr Helen.

st matthews church readers and intercessors
st matthews church readers and intercessors

Wednesday Coffee Club

Every Wednesday there is a mass at 10am in the Lady Chapel at St Matthews. On the first Sunday of the month it is a healing mass and anointing and laying on of hands is offered for those who would like it.

 The Coffee Club meets after the mass in the vestry. You don’t have to go to the mass to come for a coffee. Nor do you have to stay for a coffee if you’ve been to the mass. We are very relaxed. We drink coffee or tea, eat biscuits (and sometimes cakes or mince pies) and generally put the world to rights. During Lent we have a Bible study (and eat fewer biscuits!). Doreen Gleed buys the supplies and Vida Ramsay and Monica Sobers are pourers in chief.

Anyone is welcome, whatever age, so do pop along if you are free on a Wednesday morning. You will receive a warm welcome.


Sunday Coffee Team

On Sunday mornings there is nothing nicer than sharing a cup of tea or coffee together after mass and catching up with other members of the congregation. There is usually coffee, tea and biscuits after the 8am service, and there always is after the 9.30am. In fact, we sometimes have a glass of something stronger if it is a major festival. Bucks Fizz is our speciality and we pop the corks on Easter Day, St Matthew’s Day, our Dedication Festival and whenever else we can find an excuse. We also have a number of excellent bakers in the congregation who provide us with cakes on these occasions.

Coffee on Sunday is organised by a dedicated band, headed up by Barbara Conlon. There are normally two or three people on each Sunday who organise boiling the urns, pouring the coffee and clearing up. It is a very good way to get to know people in the church as everyone loves the person pouring their cup of tea! If you would like to get involved, please seek out Barbara. You would probably be on the rota one Sunday per month.

st matthews church sunday coffee club
st matthews church sunday coffee club

Flower Arrangers

st matthews church flower arrangers

The flower arranging team at St Matthew’s is headed up by Ann Deane, ably assisted by Brenda, Gwen and Sue. We arrange flowers for each Sunday of the year according to the colour of the season. For example, big festivals like Christmas and Easter are white and Pentecost and the Feast of St Matthew are red. We normally do the flowers on Friday in preparation for the Sunday. Anyone is welcome to join the team – no prior experience is necessary, just a desire to make the church look more beautiful.

Charitable Giving

St Matthew’s supports a range of international and local charities, including:

If you would like the church to support a particular charity, please contact the Vicar.