What To Expect

Services > What To Expect


First and foremost, we are delighted that you have visited this page and that you have either been along to a service or are thinking about it.

We are not a ‘members only club’ and anyone is warmly welcome to come along and be a part of our church community life.

Our services are an opportunity for you to come and worship inside our church buildings. Whether you come on your own or with your family you will be made very welcome. The services usually last for about 1 hour with the aim of helping each other move forward in knowing and serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

The largest of these services happens on Sunday at 10:30am in Whitehead and 12 noon at Islandmagee, but visitors are welcome to join any service which suits them best.

Below are also listed various club and group activities that take place during the week at St Patricks Church, Whitehead. These activities offer a great way to get to know us better and for us to get to know you too.

Find out more about weekly service times and activities.


For the visually or hearing impaired

We offer an induction loop system for those with hearing difficulties.  Remember to switch your Hearing Aid to the ‘T’ setting to benefit from this when in the main Church.

We also offer large print – Common Prayer and Hymn Books, for use during services. Just ask on arrival.

Church Services ARE NOT  CURRENTLY streamed live online via Facebook, except for Weddings/ Memorial Services and Funerals. Please check with the Rector in advance of the service  if you would like the service streamed.

 You can  participate and follow such services by going to the church Facebook page. Click on the Facebook symbol f at the top right corner of the page.

What To Expect If You Attend Sunday Services

When you come into our church you can sit anywhere you like but, sit where you will have a good view of the front of the church.

As you come into the church you will be given a green ‘Book of Common Prayer’ and a red Hymn Book, or a service sheet. (Unless the service is being led using the screen at the front of the church, in which case no books are necessary.)

The order of service

At the beginning of the service the Rector or leader of the service will tell you what page to turn to in the green Book of Common Prayer. For hymn singing we put up the red hymn book numbers on a board at the front of church in the order they will be sung.

What if I don’t know the hymns?

If you don’t know all the hymns, just join in as you can. You don’t have to sing unless you want to.  

Do I have to kneel for prayers?

Most people just sit quietly in their seats, heads bowed, during prayers.

When to stand or sit down?

Probably the easiest thing to know is that we stand to sing hymns. We also stand up sometimes to read together from the green Book of Common Prayer, or for the Gospel Reading.  

‘The best rule of thumb is to copy other people when they stand up and sit down!

When do the congregation read aloud from the Book of Common Prayer?

We are encouraged to share together as a congregation in reading aloud whenever the wording is shown in bold print in the green book or service sheet.

But if you don’t want to join in you can just follow the words.

How do I know the service has ended?

The Rector will give a blessing and walk down the aisle to the door at the back of the church. People will then start to get up to leave, or to head next door to the Parochial Hall for refreshments.

Should I receive Holy Communion?

Every Sunday morning at 8.30am in St Patrick’s Church we have a Communion Service which lasts just under one hour.

We also have a further Communion Service on the first Sunday morning of each month at 10.30am in St Patrick’s Church & at 12noon in St John’s Church. When this happens, the Rector will invite everyone during the service to come up to the altar to receive bread and wine.

The Eucharist is at the heart of Christian worship. It is celebrated by Christians around the world as a memorial of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. During the final meal Christ shared with his disciples he said to them, ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’

In the Eucharist, God invites us to his table as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet which he has prepared for people of faith from all nations and cultures. If you normally take communion in another church, or have taken it before, then please do partake of the bread and wine with us. If you’ve never taken communion, please do still come up and receive a blessing – many people do. Just follow everyone else, and when you get to the rail, kneel down and hold your hands down. The minister will know that you’re there for a blessing. After your blessing, go back to your seat. If you prefer to stay in your seat and not go up that is fine too, no one will mind.

Can I bring my children to church?

Yes – please do. Children of all ages are very welcome – and we have lots of activities just for them.

There’s a friendly & fun Sunday Family Gathering  called ‘Messy Church’, offered approximately once a month on a Sunday morning during term time, at St Patrick’s, which you and your children can attend.

Lots of fun activities are organised around a Bible theme, and the children are encouraged to get actively involved along with their accompanying family members.

Messy Church always concludes with  a choice of  hot foods including Bacon and Sausage baps plus hot drinks etc.

St Patrick’s – After service chat and refreshments in the church hall – next door

,Tell us if you are new to the area as we try to make sure everyone feels welcome and don’t worry, you won’t be left standing with no-one to talk to.

Finding your way to the Parochial Hall after the service is over

Make your way to the front of the church and exit by the door on the left. It’s an old building so you do end up walking along a corridor and through a small meeting room before you reach the Parochial Hall – Follow others heading that way or ask for directions.


Toilets are located in St Patrick’s in the Parochial Hall, just ask for directions.

Whilst in St John’s Church the toilet is located to the side of the entrance hall.

Like more information?

Pick up a notice sheet & or ‘Church Matters’ magazine. These are available at the back of church and provide details of church events, services and activities during the coming week/month.

Disabled Access

Access into St Patrick’s Church. At the front of the church there is the option of either 12 steps with supporting handrail, or a wide inclining paved pathway without steps to enable wheelchair users to obtain access into the church.

The Parochial Hall at St Patrick’s Church can be entered via the car park in Edward Road and is wheelchair friendly, allowing access into the hall. However, to go from the Hall into the Church building involves a few steps.

Access to St John’s Church. There are two options for entry into the churchyard:

  1. The first entrance faces the car park and involves descending down approximately eight stone steps. Handrail support is provided. Thereafter the path and entrance is all on one level.
  1. For wheelchairs users there is steps-free access into the church. From the main road, follow the lane to the left of the Church and you will see almost immediately a gate on your right offering access to the church entrance.

Car Parking

St Patrick’s Church has a small carpark located adjoining the Parochial Hall in Edward Road. It can accommodate 6/7 cars maximum, as access must be maintained for other drivers through St Patrick’s Avenue, which runs alongside the carpark.

St John’s Church has a large car park located on the opposite side of the main road, facing the church. It can comfortably accommodate up to 50 cars. 

Caution should be exercised when crossing the road and driving out of the carpark as traffic tends to be fast along this stretch of the road.