CANON BOB WHITE: Celebrating the life of the community

St Mary's Church May Fayre takes place soon
St Mary's Church May Fayre takes place soon
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The vicar of St Mary’s Church, Fratton on the upcoming May Fayre

One of the great things about being from, and living in, Portsmouth is that you can have a strong sense of community and belonging.

It can feel as if the city is made up of several neighbourhoods – each with their own sense of identity.

That is certainly true of Fratton, and at the heart of the ‘village’ is the churchyard and church of St Mary’s.

And our annual community fair is a bit like a village fair, but on a grander scale.

We’re preparing for the May Fayre, which happens from 10am-4pm on Monday, May 7, when we celebrate the life of this community.

It includes more than 100 stall holders, Morris Men, Punch and Judy, a Steel Band, fun fair rides, the beer tent team and many more.

Inside the church, Fratton Big Local will be hosting a variety of community groups, who can showcase what they do in Fratton.

There will be a chance to enjoy listening to the organ (and an opportunity to tour behind the scenes to see how it works) and the choir.

There will also be a space for you to be still and reflect on your life and the life of the community around you, and – if you wish to – light a candle and say a prayer.

Those who attend regularly speak of the great atmosphere and the chance to meet old friends as well as make new ones.

One question that I am often asked is ‘Why do you do this?’ The answer is simple. At Easter we celebrate as a Church the risen life of Jesus and his presence in the world.

Our faith is not about cutting ourselves off and removing ourselves from the world, but is about engaging and being part of the world and seeking to discern Jesus’ presence in our lives and in our community.

It is about celebrating that life that God gives us and seeking to share that celebration and joy with others. The May Fayre is one way of doing so.

We enjoy sharing the beautiful building and grounds with everyone who comes along. We hope you might come and celebrate with us, and perhaps meet some familiar friends and make some new ones!

St Mary’s Church is in Fratton Road, Fratton.

Go to portseaparish.co.uk.