St Andrew and St Mark are part of the Church of England, also called the Anglican Church.
For those who are of a theological bent, this means that while we are part of the one holy, catholic and apostolic church, we a ‘reformed’ part. We are very close to the Roman Catholics, but formally, they would reject us as being too protestant and for not recognising the Pope’s authority.
To be more down to earth, within our congregation are people on all sorts of faith journeys. There are people for whom this is the first and only church they have ever known; others have joined us from more evangelical churches; others grew up as Roman Catholics; still others come from Eastern orthodox churches. All are welcome.
As well as ours, there are some other great churches in and around Surbiton. What would mark out our approach is:
Liturgy: we wear vestments during our worship
Traditional music: we have a ‘robed choir’ at the eucharist each Sunday, and we sing some of the best hymns ever written, and at our eucharist we are accompanied by an organ or piano rather than by a worship band with guitars etc.
That said, for service with young families we are much more informal.
Challenging, punchy sermons: our sermons are for those who have a questioning faith and are not prepared to accept simple answers. We also think that ‘less is more’: typically on a Sunday, the sermon lasts ten to twelve minutes.
Liberal Christian outlook: we are Christian, but we are also inclusive. By way of short hand, this might reflect itself in a positive outlook towards:
People in same sex relationships
Women as bishops and in positions of ministry
Those who have a different understanding of the Bible from our own, such as on matters of how Jesus Christ comes to save the world.
We do not see being ‘liberal’ on these matters as meaning that we are not authentic to Christianity.
If you want 40 minute Biblical expositions, or a place where people speak in tongues, or a church that rocks out to the sound of a belting worship band, then we probably aren’t for you.
Locally, if you want lengthy, sustained Biblical exegesis, you might wish to try Christ Church, Surbiton (www.ccsurbiton.org).
If you want freer worship, more ‘charismatic’ or with a few more guitars, you might wish to try St George’s in Tolworth (www.tolworthtm.org) , Surbiton New Life Baptist Church (www.surbitonnewlifebaptist.com), or the Community Church (www.community-church.org.uk);
if you like some liturgical structure, but wish to avoid the times when we have a lot of ceremony (like incense), you might want to try Surbiton Hill Methodist Church (www.surbitonhillmethodist.co.uk) or St Matthew’s Church (www.tolworthtm.org) up the road.
(Note that this is a rough guide: those churches can tell you more about what they do and might not like the stereotyping!)
Of course, our services vary from time to time and can be quite varied in type, especially the services focussed on children, so we’re not a ‘one trick pony’ ourselves, but our worship has more ceremony than most other churches around here. That said, we are not too fussy about it.
So while those others are all great churches, we hope you might try us some time too!
Every now and then, our congregation and the other congregations in Surbiton and Tolworth worship altogether at ‘Churches Together’ services.