Not just the food and the cake, but also being with friends and perhaps making new ones.
Sometimes (often at significant ages) the parties have embarrassing photos of the birthday person through the ages – showing the hairstyles that changed, or the fashions they wore.
But birthday celebrations are not just about marking what has passed and looking back with nostalgia – they can also be about celebrating the here and now and looking with hope into the future.
Once a year, we have the opportunity to do this for the church as a whole.
Each year on the day associated with the saint after who the church is named we have a ‘Patronal Festival’. This is a chance to give thanks for the life of the Church and all that it has done, as well as to celebrate together the life of that community today and asking God’s blessing for the future.
We often think about the life of that saint and how that example may help us in shaping our Christian lives and the work that we do.
Like a good birthday party, there is often food and drink involved at a party after the service and a good chance to catch up with old friends and make some new ones as well!
October is a busy month for the parish in Fratton as two of our churches have their Patronal Festivals within a week of each other.
On October 6 we give thanks for the life of St Faith and we will be thinking about the community of Landport, of which that church is a part. We will have the chance to develop our friendship with Harbour Church – the brand new church in Commercial Road – as we welcome Alex Wood, who is vicar there, as our preacher.
Then on October 12 we will be thinking about St Wilfrid and reflecting on the life of that worshipping community and its work in the area around George Street.
The Rev Elizabeth Groves, the Diocesan President of the Mothers’ Union will be preaching and helping us to think about how we can serve the wider community.
So if you like a good birthday celebration, or would like to join us in giving thanks for those two churches and the communities they are part of, then please come along and perhaps make some new friends at 7.30pm on either of those two days.
n ST MARY’S CHURCH, Fratton Road, Fratton
n ST WILFRID’S CHURCH, George Street, Fratton
n ST FAITH’S CHURCH, Cresswell Road, Landport
n Web: portseaparish.co.uk