I’M pretty new to this area, but I’m already impressed with the way that my new church, St Jude’s, Southsea, caters for families.
I started work here last autumn, working as ‘associate vicar’ alongside the Rev Mike Duff, who continues as the vicar.
One of the things that attracted me to come here was the fantastic work with children, teenagers and families.
As well as the normal groups for children of all ages on Sunday mornings, there’s a youth group for teenagers, a young adults’ group for those in their early 20s – and even a social group for 10-14 year olds on Saturday nights.
But nothing quite prepared me for what happens every two months, when the church welcomes up to 350 people, many of whom don’t normally come to church, for something called ‘Funday Sunday’.
We offer bacon sandwiches, muffins and pastries to our visitors for breakfast, as well as great fresh coffee. Parents get the chance to read the Sunday papers while their children enjoy Wii games, table football, art and craft or nail-painting.
Then we gather together for a quickfire presentation, which includes songs, activities and fun.
We also get to watch the latest episode in the sci-fi serial The Adventures of the J Team, which pits goodies against baddies in some futuristic world. It manages to be gripping, hilarious, and also tell us something about the way that God works too.
This Sunday – January 31 – is the very last episode of this serial. The last thing that happened was that the leader of the J Team had to sacrifice himself to save the rest of his team.
It all works as a parallel of the story of Jesus, and the way he chose to defeat evil by sacrificing himself in our place. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
I’m so pleased to be part of a church that is so hospitable to visitors and newcomers – and I don’t just mean how welcome they’ve made me feel!
If you and your family want to come along and join us on Sunday, I’m sure you’ll feel right at home as well.
ST JUDE’S CHURCH, Kent Road, Southsea, PO5 3EL
This Sunday’s services: 10.30am – Funday Sunday (with breakfast and children’s activities)
4pm – Come and See (a Taize-style contemplative service)
Contact: (023) 9275 0442 or email@example.com
For more information go to stjudes-southsea.org.uk