St Mary's Church Upton

Making a difference, wherever we are, as we share Faith For Life in Christ

Welcome to St Mary’s

I hope you find the information on this website helpful, introducing many of our events and activities. We are an Anglican family church with activities for all ages and interests, for young adults, families or more elderly members.

We also offer support to people at different stages in life. Whether a time of celebration or a time of crisis, we are here to help.

Above all, we are a church that believes Jesus makes sense of the world we see around us, bringing meaning and certainty.

So at all of our Sunday services and in our small groups we want to understand Jesus more clearly and grasp the difference he can make to our lives. That is why we have as our vision statement, “To make a difference wherever we are as we share Faith for Life”.

If you would like to know more about what we do, or if we can help you in any way do not hesitate to make contact with us, either directly at the church office (0151 677 1186) or email office@stm-upton.org.uk

Whatever your connection with us at St Mary’s I hope you find us friendly and welcoming. Please let us know if we can help you in any way.

Nikki Eastwood, Vicar

What do we do?

The simple answer is that we seek to live as followers of Jesus Christ.

We believe that our faith is not reserved only for Sundays but is relevant and real for life throughout the whole week.

However, Sunday worship is a vital activity for the church family, when we come together for worship and to be built up in our faith. All ages are part of our activities – we are a church family.

Christians from our church are active in every place during the week. At home with children or elderly parents, caring for those in need, in shops, schools, hospitals, businesses, studying… We believe that our faith should make a difference wherever we are.

Our midweek activities are there to support people as they live for Christ.

     

Exploring faith

We believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the One for whom we exist.

We believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again.

We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world.

We believe that God wants us to make a difference  in our community through our work, worship and witness.

We believe that people can know God today and that He can change our lives. We believe that He wants to offer everyone the gift of new life.

If you do not know Jesus – we would like to tell you more about Him. Contact one of the Clergy at the Church Office.

The Alpha Course is an excellent way to explore the Christian faith. Other helpful websites are ReJesus and Looking for God.

     

Our church vision

The vision of our church is to make a difference wherever we are as we share faith for life.

Our goal at St Mary’s is to share our faith by:

  • Celebrating our faith in Jesus through our ‘worship’ in the widest sense
  • Welcoming people and helping them to belong to our church family
  • Becoming a healing community in which people find a place where they are helped in their pain and struggles
  • Equipping disciples to make a difference wherever they are
  • Delighting in sharing our faith in relevant ways

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “The church is part of the solution for building community blessing at a local level. The common good of the community and justice are absolutely central to what it means to be a Christian. Loving God and loving neighbour go together like the warp and weft of a piece of fabric.”

 

     

Baptisms

Babies, children and adults are baptised at our church. Sometimes a baby’s baptism is referred to as a Christening.

If you would like to find out more, please phone the Church Office on 0151 677 1186 to ask about booking and preparing for a Baptism.

Adult baptism

Adults are often baptised once they have made a clear decision to follow Christ. The baptism will either take place in our pool in church (as shown in the pictures) or standing next to a small bowl on a wooden stand (a font).

Baptism of children

Following an enquiry, in preparation for baptism, we invite parents and their child/children to come along to one of our Morning Worship services where they are met with a warm and welcoming response.

The 11am services are very ‘family friendly’ and we also have toys and crèche facilities which encourage parents to feel at ease during the time of worship. Following the service, arrangements are made to visit the parents to discuss the process or any concerns they may have regarding the church’s policy on baptism.

Prior to the baptism, we also offer a ‘Thanksgiving’ for the birth and life of the child. At this ceremony, we name and pray for the family, that they may know God’s love and protection.

We have a team of sponsors who are committed to support each family through the steps towards baptism and care for them pastorally.

Parents who decide to have their children baptised are invited to come to a preparation evening. It’s quite informal and involves watching a video called ‘First Steps’.

This explains the meaning of baptism so that parents can understand the promises they will be making on behalf of their child.

It also gives an opportunity to discuss things more in depth and enables them to understand how important it is to help their children growing up in the Christian faith.

Baptisms usually take place on the first Sunday of the month at the 11am morning Service. This varies around Christmas, Easter and August.

The Alpha Course is  an excellent way to explore the Christian faith and living as a Christian in today’s world. We recommend it as a good courses for adults thinking of baptism or confirmation. Parents bringing their children for baptism are helped to understand what it means to bring up their children as Christians.

More information based on an article from the Church of England website

Your child’s baptism in the Church of England

What is baptism?
In baptism, you as parents are thanking God for his gift of life, deciding to start your child on the journey of faith and asking for the Church’s support.

For your child, baptism marks the start of a journey of faith, which involves turning away from the darkness of self-centredness, turning towards Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.

Baptism is a visible sign of God’s love. In baptism, we are thanking God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledging his love. We are acknowledging that we all need to turn away from the darkness of evil and to make a new start with God.

When did baptism start?
Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan. This was a turning point in his life (you can read the story in the Bible: at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel in the New Testament). Jesus told his followers to baptize others as a sign that they had turned away from their old life, and begun a new life as Christ’s disciples, members of his Body, having been assured of God’s forgiveness.

Baptisms often took place in a river: new Christians were dipped under the water, marking their death to an old way of life, and lifted up again as a sign of new birth.

Making decisions and promises
When you bring your child for baptism, you will be asked to declare publicly on behalf of your child that you believe in God and that you will bring your child up to follow Jesus.

You will be asked to answer, on your child’s behalf, that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and to turn instead towards Christ.

The declarations made by you and the child’s godparents will be made in front of the church congregation. The Christian community will promise to support you and to pray for you and your child.

The declarations

Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?
Parents and godparents: I reject them.

Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?
Parents and godparents: I renounce them.

Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?
Parents and godparents: I repent of them.

Do you turn to Christ as Saviour?
Parents and godparents: I turn to Christ.

Do you submit to Christ as Lord?
Parents and godparents: I submit to Christ.

Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth and the life?
Parents and godparents: I come to Christ.

What happens in the Baptism service?

Your child’s baptism will take place during the main Sunday service. This is so that your child can be seen to be joining the family of the Church and be welcomed into membership. In turn, the Church will promise to support and pray for you and your child. The vicar will ask the parents and godparents to make declarations on behalf of the child.

For the baptism itself, parents and godparents will be asked to gather either at the front of the church around the font. (The font is a large basin containing the water for baptism.)

Frequently asked questions

Q: What’s the difference between a baptism and a Christening?
A: None, they are just different words for the same thing.

Q: What is the right age for baptism?
A: Baptism can happen at any age. What matters is that those concerned believe it is right to ask for baptism.

Q: What does it cost?
A: The Baptism service is free.

Q: What is a godparent?
A:  Godparents make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptized as parents. Godparents promise to pray and support the child and to help the parents to bring up the child in the Christian faith. It is an important and responsible role.

Q: Who should I choose to be a godparent?
A: Godparents can be family members or friends. However, it is important that you choose people who will take an interest in your child’s spiritual welfare and who will pray for you and your child. They should be baptized themselves.

Q: What happens after the baptism?
A: Baptism marks a new start for your child, as a member of the worldwide Christian community. In turn, the Church welcomes you and your child and promises to support you in bringing the child up in the faith. Both of our congregations have services where children are welcome and special groups and activities for them.

     

Weddings

Phone The Church Office on 0151 677 1186 to ask about booking a Wedding.


The following information is taken from the Church of England website.

Why get married in church?
A marriage service, wherever it is held, is a public declaration of love and commitment to your partner.

If you choose to get married in church, there is an added dimension – the assurance that God cares about your relationship and that his resources and strength are available to help you.

Including God in your marriage doesn’t mean that you will avoid all the usual ups and downs, but you will know that you can look to God for help and guidance and that his love will sustain you.

You will also have the support and encouragement of the Christian Church family.

Where can I get married?
You are entitled to be married in the church of the Church of England parish where one or other or you lives.

If you are an active, worshipping member of another church congregation, it is usually possible to be married there. If you are under the age of eighteen, you must have your parents’ consent to marry.

There are special guidelines on church marriage if you have been divorced: contact the vicar for more information.

How much will it cost?
The legal fees for a marriage cover the publication of the banns, certificate of banns, the marriage service and a certificate of marriage. You can expect to pay something over £400 including a deposit of £50. There are options, such as bells, which will put the price up.

Can I choose what kind of service I want?
Talk over the options with the person leading the service. There are usually one or more readings from the Bible in the service.

There will also be some prayers, which you may help to choose, or you may write your own. You may also decide to have someone other than the minister leading the prayers. The minister will probably give a brief talk or sermon.

Should we have one or two rings?
A wedding ring is a symbol of unending love and faithfulness, and of the commitment you are making to each other. It is entirely up to you whether you have one ring or two.

What do Christians believe about marriage?
Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God. In the marriage ceremony, a couple make a public declaration of lifelong commitment to love each other, come what may.

The Bible compares married love with the love Jesus has for his followers. He expressed his love by being prepared to sacrifice himself, even to die for the people he loved. This is amazing, unconditional love.

Jesus never said “I love you, but …”. In our marriages we can try to follow his model by loving our partners in a self-sacrificial way, putting their needs before our own.

The marriage ceremony gives you a new legal status as husband and wife and a new stability within which your relationship can flourish and grow. Christians believe that marriage offers the right place for the fulfillment of our sexuality and that it provides a stable and secure environment for bringing up children.

Preparing for marriage
To help you to prepare for your married life together St Mary’s offers a short Marriage Preparation Course. These have proved very successful and have provided a great deal of support for couples as they prepare for their wedding day.

Suggested reading
You might also find it helpful to read a book, such as The Marriage Book, by Nicky and Sila Lee  as you prepare for the big day. We would suggest you contact a local bookshop (e.g. Birkenhead Christian Bookshop on 0151 647 8743)

     

Funerals

At these sad times, please be sure of our support and prayers.

Those who lose a loved member of their family will first of all be in contact with a local funeral director who in turn will contact us at St.Mary’s to arrange the date and time for the funeral.

We will visit you before the funeral to talk through the service and to walk with you at this time.

Here are some prayers you might find helpful.

Before and after the funeral
Dear God, you know how sad and heartbroken I feel.
You know how much I miss…… Please give me your peace inside and the strength to face each day.
Thank you that you know all about life and death. Help me to get to know you better. Amen.

 Jesus said: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; whoever believes in me, though they die, yet shall live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” 
John 11v25

Father in heaven,  you gave your son Jesus Christ to suffering and death on the cross,
and raised him to life in glory.  Grant me a patient faith in time of darkness, and strengthen my heart with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Cast all your anxieties on Him for He cares about you.
1 Peter 5v7.

On the day of the funeral
Lord Jesus, I come to you at the start of this day.
I am full of uncertainties.
I thank you for all those who will share today with me; my family; the minister;
my friends; and all those who know my pain.
Help me not to worry, help me to trust You, and help me in my weakness
to know Your strength. Amen

“Do not let your hearts be troubled, believe in God”.
John 14v1

Help me, Lord Jesus, to follow you as The Way,
to believe and to trust you, and to find eternal life in your words.
Thank you for your love,  help me to have the courage to live for you.
Thank you Lord. Amen.

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except by me.”

John 14v6

     

When we meet

St Mary's, Church Road, Upton

9am: A quiet, more formal service.
11am: Busy with children who start in the service and move into age-related groups after the start.
6.30pm: Generally more informal

St Mary's Centre, 127 Saughull Massie Road, Upton

10.30am: Holy Communion on the third Sunday of the month,  Morning Worship on each of the other Sundays. The Centre has a friendly and informal atmosphere and facilities for children.

Pattern of services

St Mary's Church

First Sunday of the month
9am Holy Communion
11am Together at Eleven (all ages)
6.30pm Sundays at Seven or Evening Praise

Second Sunday of the month
9am Morning Prayer
11am Morning Worship
6.30pm Holy Communion

Third Sunday of the month
9am Morning Prayer
11am Morning Worship with Baptisms
6.30pm Evening Praise

Fourth Sunday of the month
9am Morning Prayer
11am Holy Communion
6.30pm Evening Prayer

Wednesdays
11am Holy Communion

St Mary's Centre

10.30am all services
First Sunday: Morning Worship
Second Sunday: Morning Worship
Third Sunday, Holy Communion
Fourth Sunday, Morning Worship

The pattern varies around Christmas and Easter.

We run a different programme during August at 11am. Occasionally an event or special day is marked which can also cause a change to the above pattern.