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Hello, we are glad you are exploring our website and maybe considering coming along. We hope that this section will give you all the information you need. If there are other questions, we do not answer here please do not hesitate to be in touch with Mary our Vicar.

Where is the Church?

The beautiful Parish Church of St Mary and St Botolph is one of the hidden gems of Suffolk and especially Ipswich. On the downside it is so hidden it cannot be seen from any of the roads in the Parish. It sits at the very top of the accessible part of Whitton Church Lane. Where the lane turns sharp left towards Thurleston Lane and Akenham vehicle access to the church is up to smaller lane straight over. On foot it can be accessed from Homer Close and Carlisle Close. Sadly, due to vandalism we are unable to keep the church open, but someone is always willing to come along and let you in for a look round if you wish, just contact the church wardens.

What buildings does the Parish have?

On the same site as the parish church we have a large community hall which is used for a variety of things and is available for hire for various events.

We also have ‘The Ascension’ on Larchcroft Road which is a multi purpose building serving the community as a hall and the church as a place of worship. Services here currently are a midweek Holy Communion Service at 10.30 on a Wednesday morning. Once again this hall is available for hire.

Can I park the car nearby?

We have a good size car park so parking is not usually an issue.

Do I live in the parish of Whitton with Thurleston and Akenham?

This link will take you to a list of addresses that fall within the parish boundary.  (link to a list we will provide) 

Do I have to be in the parish to attend the church?

No, quite simply all are welcome to worship with us, a number of our regular congregation live outside the parish but find the style of worship here suits their needs.

What do I wear?

God doesn’t mind what you wear, he simply rejoices that you have chosen to come along, so we don’t mind either. For some they feel right to dress up for church, for others they simply wish to come as themselves, we do not look or judge by what you choose to wear. 

Where can I sit?

Anywhere. By nature we are creatures of habit by so many people sit in the same place as it feels comfortable but please don’t worry about sitting in someone’s seat they will simply sit in another and you should not even be aware, so sit where you are comfortable. If you are visiting for the first time it is good to sit in the central aisle as you will see everything from there, the side aisles are less good for lines of sight.

Can I bring the children?

YES PLEASE!  We love having them among us. If you have small children feel free to let them play over near the Font where there are some toys. We not only welcome but rejoice when we have children among us so please don’t worry if they are a little noisy. If you feel they are too noisy anda re uncomfortable please just take them into the vestry, through the curtain beside the font and straight ahead, where you can shut the door and they can play/cry, make a noise and you can still hear the service.

What are the Services like?

Compared to some our services can be seen as quite formal, we use a lot of colour in the vestments (robes the ministers wear) lots of candles and on some special occasions incense. 

The 09.30 Main Service - lasting approx. 1 hr and 15mins
This is always a Eucharist (which means Thanksgiving) – or Holy Communion Service where we do as Jesus told us to and share bread and wine. First, we listen to the Word of God in the Bible and hear about how we might understand it (The Sermon!).

The service is a bit like a dance in that the ministers move in a way that is neat and flows. It follows a booklet called ‘the liturgy’ (this word simply means the work and offering of the people of God to God) the exact words used changes for each season of the church year to reflect its mood, but the structure is the same. We sing hymns through the service and some of the other words are sung adding to the interest of the words and the service. Our choir lead the singing and help us to sing well and usually sing a special anthem. However, whist it sounds very formal it is also done is a relaxed and friendly way– smart casual if you like! There will always be someone who will help you follow what we are doing. never be afraid to ask the ministers to talk about the service and help you understand it, we all have to learn and some do that simply by experiencing it time and again and simply coming to understand it over time but enjoying it washing over us in the meantime, in the way many of us did as children into adulthood, other like to study it and understand it quickly. Either approach is fine!

On the 4th Sunday our Young People are very involved in delivering the service and it is a little simpler with a more interactive sermon. This usually a little shorter around an hour.

The 8am Service – lasting around 40mins
On the Frist Sunday of each month there is a service of Holy communion at 8am. This is said and has no singing. 

Evensong – lasting around 40 mins
Evening Services are at 6.30pm except on the first Sunday of each month. and we enjoy the traditional Sung Evensong. This is a lovely way to end Sunday and has an appeal that is timeless. We are a sociable bunch and enjoy special things from time to time, like ‘Songs of Praise’ and ‘Harvest Festival’ or ‘Music for a Summer’s Evening’ so sometimes Evensong is different.

First Sunday Family Worship – lasting around 45 mins
This take place at 3.30pm on the first Sunday of each month. There is a short craft activity and then a short service that links to the craft activity. We sing 2 or sometimes 3 hymns/songs and listen to Bible Story. This is followed by refreshments.

Wednesday 10.30 At The Ascension.
This is an informal friendly gathering for a said service of Holy Communion lasting about 40 minutes .

ALL our services are followed by refreshments and fellowship which as we enjoy spending time together.

What do we sing?

Singing is an important part of our worship and good for building community. We sing a wide range of traditional hymns and newer worship songs. The music is chosen by our Director of Music and led by our Choir and accompanied by our organist, either on organ or piano, whichever is most suited to the music. 

Does it matter that I have not been Baptised (Christened)?

No, you are welcome to join us we are pleased that you are exploring faith and we are all on a journey together with all of us at a different point I t eh journey but travelling hopefully together. If you are interested in being Baptised (Christened) please talk to the ministers.

Is there a collection?

There is a collection during all our services. Our giving is a response to the generosity of God and all that he gives to us, in return he calls us to give generously to his work according to our means. Some can afford to give much others can afford to give only a little, the amount is less important than the intention with which it is given. You will know what you can realistically afford, and you will not be judged on this in any way. Please sue the envelope on the end of the of the pew if you pay tax as this makes a huge difference to us. The money is used to ensure we have a building which is in good condition and looked after so we can use for worship and the community can gather in for the rites of passage that are important to all humans, such as Weddings, Christenings and Funerals. As a grade 2 listed medieval building this is not a cheap exercise. It also covers the cost of having a full-time priest here in the parish. All together the cost of doing all this is approx. £1600 per week.

Most important of all….

Most of all welcome, please don’t feel you have to understand everything follow everything know the tunes and sing everything, these things come in time. We simply ask that you relax and allow yourself to enjoy the experience in whatever way works for you. The information is to help you know a little of what to expect, but only by coming along will you feel the atmosphere and most importantly of all encounter something of God.