Who knew putting on a dog collar would change things so much?
Since being ordained Deacon by Bishop Christopher at Portsmouth Cathedral at the beginning of this month, I have been getting to know the community of Crookhorn which I will be a part of for the next four years.
My wife Hannah and I have been living in Cambridge for the last three years whilst I’ve been training for ordination, so everything down here is new to us – we’re particularly glad to see some hills and the sea again.
As we’ve started to settle in, the first thing that has struck me about this community is the warmth and friendliness of the young, old and everyone in between.
In my first two weeks, I have enjoyed meeting residents at Elsie Fudge House at a special service, having fun at Messy Church, assisting the Vicar Peter Hall at a school assembly and enjoying food and drink at a community barbecue.
It’s brilliant that so many of these activities have been about getting together as a community and enjoying one another’s company; building a loving community was a big priority for Jesus, so it’s only right that that’s a big part of what it means to ‘be’ a church.
It’s lovely to see how the church here is involved in the community in a number of different ways and to see that there are good relationships with people in the local area.
I’m really glad that there’s a lot going on in both the church building and outside of it for people of all ages.
I’m looking forward to getting involved, meeting more of the people that live round here and hopefully developing new and exciting relationships.
One of the things I’m particularly interested in is ‘Fresh Expressions’, which basically means finding new ways of being a church.
A more traditional church service isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I believe we need to work out new ways of ‘doing church’ that really connect with those people and allow them to meet with God and one another in a setting that fits with who they are.
Who knows what that might look like for Crookhorn, but it would be exciting to find out together.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I’m still getting used to wearing a dog collar so if you do see me in the street, the supermarket, or anywhere for that matter, do stop and say “hello”.