Going somewhere new is never the easiest thing to do, so we hope this part of our website helps you learn more about us, and makes that first visit easier. We ask if you have Covid, or think you may have, that you join us via Zoom.
The Whitewater benefice is in North East Hampshire, it encompasses the town of Hook and the villages of Heckfield, Rotherwick and Mattingley, and is about 6 or 7 miles east of Basingstoke. Click here for a map of where to find our Churches.
Our Sunday services are back in church, but we are also live streaming our 10am service from St John's via Zoom. Our services may be all age and intentionally having children lead parts of service or child friendly videos or may be more adult orientated with teaching that is biblically based, we also may have a mix of traditional or contemporary styles of service and music. If you are new to church, the All Age Service on the first Sunday each month in Hook or the less formal Morning Worship on the third Sunday in Hook are probably a good place to start. Look out for visiting speakers for example from the charities we support. We aim to be inclusive.
If you can not join us in church, we would love you to join us worshiping via Zoom, you can join with or without your camera, and during the services the microphones may be muted.
If you are a parent, we also have a number of things run for children. At St John's every Sunday, but the first Sunday we hold Junior Church, we also have Messy Church once a month with crafts, songs, fun and importantly tea.
As an Anglican church, we belong to the Diocese of Winchester within the Church of England. Our church family is made up of people from different denominations, and you will be made welcome whatever your spiritual background.
Your first visit to Church
Usually we arrive 5 - 10 minutes early and use that time to sit quietly. For some it's a time of prayer. For others, it's a time to clear the mind and to prepare for the service.
When you arrive, you will be welcomed at the door and given a service leaflet, you may also be given a sheet of paper containing the hymns being used. Any hymns not on the sheet of paper will be in the hymn book, this may be in the pocket in front of your seat or will be given to you when you arrive. Please feel free to ask any questions at this point. If the church is very full or it is a special service, the people who greet you may also show you to a seat, otherwise you are free to sit anywhere.
We have a carpeted area at the back of church suitable for babies and toddlers, and there are toys which they can use during the service (if they are not out, and you would like them, please ask). Silence is not required! At St John's if you do want to take children out of church, one of the adjacent rooms can be used as a creche (there is a sound system so you can listen to the service) - please ask and someone will show you.
Our main services each Sunday is often a Communion service, sometimes called Eucharist. In this service we remember the Last Supper, the final meal that Jesus Christ shared with his disciples before his arrest, and eventual crucifixion. At the meal Jesus ate bread and wine and instructed his disciples to do the same in memory of him. If you are a visitor and would normally take communion, you are most welcome to receive communion in our church. If you do not want to receive communion, you can, if you wish, take your service sheet with you and you will receive a blessing. We go to the front of the church, and stand in front of the priest, to receive communion or a blessing.
At some point in the service, a collection may be taken for the work of the church. Although a collection basket is passed round, not everyone will make a cash donation. Many of the regular church family will donate monthly (via the Parish Giving Scheme which uses direct debit). As visitors, please feel free to let the collection pass by. If you wish to donate, and you are a tax payer please complete a gift aid envelope. Any details given on the envelope will only be used to reclaim tax, and will not be used for other purposes.
If you are worried about what to wear, please be assured that you can dress as you feel most comfortable and blend into our congregation. Some of our members like to dress in their Sunday Best, whilst others are happier in jeans and t-shirts. God doesn't judge anyone on their outer clothing and neither do we.
After the service, you are warmly invited to join us for tea, coffee and biscuits, and a chance to say hello and ask any questions you may have.