Worshippers have been at Fareham church for full 50 years

CELEBRATIONS Thelma Dunger, Elizabeth Webb, Joan Hills and Geoff Collins outside St John's Church, Fareham
CELEBRATIONS Thelma Dunger, Elizabeth Webb, Joan Hills and Geoff Collins outside St John's Church, Fareham
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A CHURCH is celebrating 50 years with the help of worshippers who have been there since it was built.

St John’s Church, in Upper St Michael’s Grove, Fareham, will have a special weekend to mark its 50th birthday.

Four members of the congregation have been going to the church since it opened in 1963 and are looking forward to the celebrations.

Thelma Dunger, 87, will be enjoying the weekend with her daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She said: ‘My daughter Elizabeth, who is now 61, was married at St John’s and has been PCC secretary and churchwarden over the years.

‘Her son Mark and his wife Amy are also part of the congregation, with their three children.

‘Amy is training to become a vicar.

‘I remember bringing all four of my children to Sunday School here, which was quite a trek.’

Until the church was built, churchgoers used to worship in the church hall.

Joan Hills can remember the services being held in the hall and watching the church being built.

The 85-year-old said: ‘We were part of the parish of Holy Trinity in Fareham, but we needed our own church.

‘We started in the hall, and they built the church next door to it.

‘I remember raising money with harvest suppers and we made our own entertainment.

‘I came to services here with my daughter in her pram.’

The anniversary weekend celebrations will be on June 22 starting with an open day from 10am till 4pm.

Later on in the evening there will be a 1960s-themed evening as well as a quiz and meal.

On the Sunday, the church will welcome the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, the Bishop of Portsmouth, and some former clergy, to a celebration Communion service from 10am.

It will be followed by a hog roast.

For Elizabeth, who grew up going to St John’s Church, the weekend will be a way for everyone to celebrate together.

She added: ‘I can remember worshipping in the church when I was very small.

‘It is great that we are all here now ready to celebrate our 50 years.

‘My family are at church, but to me church has also been my family.

‘People have come and gone, but the nucleus of people has been here for a long time.’