Pioneering postcode priests tuck into PO9 and a picnic at Havant

The Picnic in the Park at Park Community School
The Picnic in the Park at Park Community School
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The Revs Barney and Sara Barron, pioneer ministers for the PO9 area of Havant, don’t work in established churches but out and about in the community

IT MIGHT sound odd, but we are church ministers who deliberately don’t work in established churches.

Our job is to try to help people who wouldn’t normally go to church to think about the relevance of faith in God for life today. It means we spend most of our time nowhere near churches. Instead we are normally out in the community.

We are what the Church of England calls ‘pioneer ministers’ and our patch is the PO9 postcode area of Havant.

Because the idea of going to a church building on a Sunday is off-putting or inconvenient for many people, we hope we can help people engage with God in other ways.

We’ve both worked in this area in other roles before taking on this role as a jobshare. So we know the area well and have good links with Park Community School.

So one of the first things we did was hold a Picnic in the Park at the school last week. It was organised by and for the community. They showed off their talents, providing things such as crafts, face-painting, a photo booth, rescue rabbits and a community art project. There was also laser quest and an inflatable assault course. The local police and Park Community School’s young sports ambassadors were there.

Everyone brought a picnic and we gave out home-made cakes.

It was a brilliant day, in glorious weather, and showed what people here can do when they work together.

We hope it will become an annual event so we’d love to hear your ideas to make it even better.

It was also a way of showing how the Church is here to serve its local community, facilitating those kinds of occasions where genuine community spirit comes to the fore.

As we discover more about what God wants us to do in this area, we hope we can encourage people here to pray, worship and serve others in new ways. That might not involve going to church, but it will definitely mean being with others who want to do the same and perhaps discovering new ways of bringing the church together.

Contact Barney and Sara Barron (barneyb29@hotmail.com or 07867-501436).