Pioneering different ways to reach out to the community

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A New Year is a great opportunity to look back over the last 12 months and to look forward at what lies ahead in the next 12 months.

As archdeacon I am hugely privileged to support the work of the church across the Fareham and Gosport area – this brings with it many joys and challenges too.

Over the last year, there have been many new and exciting things happening in our churches, including Church Alive at Alverstoke. It’s a fun and lively service which regularly attracts more than 100 people of all ages and Sundays@11 has just started in St Faith’s Lee-on-the-Solent which is along similar lines.

In Whiteley, the church continues to support the building of a sense of community through its worship and activities in the community centre, shopping centre and in other places where people gather.

Cornerstone, the new primary school, is thriving in its temporary buildings and consultation will start this spring for the design of its fantastic new buildings.

Many of our churches have been supporting the Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank over the last year through donations and volunteering. More than 1,630 food parcels have been given to feed more than 3,200 people.

As we look to a new year, I am hugely excited about the development of new ways of reaching out to our communities with the love, hope and peace of God.

One of the ways we are seeking to do this is to appoint new pioneer ministers who will work alongside existing churches to build relationships with their local communities and work with them to make a difference in their lives and that of their community.

Our first pioneer minister has just been appointed and will start work in Leesland at Easter. We hope he will be the first of many in what will become a growing network serving our communities.

On behalf of all the churches in Fareham and Gosport, I wish you a very Happy New Year, and encourage you to make use of your church for whatever you may need in the year ahead.