REV MARY KELLS: I am always struck by the energy and atmosphere

Rev Paul Chamberlain, vicar at St Faith's, Lee-on-Solent, with the toddler group
Rev Paul Chamberlain, vicar at St Faith's, Lee-on-Solent, with the toddler group

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The curate of St Faith’s Church, Lee-on-the-Solent

I moved jobs in January, starting as curate at a brand new church and I was really pleased to see how much was going on at St Faith’s, Lee-on- Solent.

There are three things in particular that I think people living in this area will be interested in.

One is our Rainbow Toddlers group. The group meets on a Tuesday in the Bulson Hall, in our parish centre, right next to the church, from 9.30am-11.15am. This is open to all parents and carers of under fives and costs £1.50.

I am always struck by the energy and happy atmosphere of the group.

There are lots of toys to play with and the children run straight to them when they arrive.

We also provide refreshments – we had cake for the Tuesday after Mothering Sunday and pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. We finish the session with a singing session, with lots of actions, which is great fun.

Another of the things we do to welcome families is our Sundays@11 service, which complements the traditional Parish Eucharist at 9.30am, and our Communion at 8.30am and Evensong at 6pm.

Sundays@11 has a very informal approach, with children right at the front on a play mat and lots of noise and mayhem welcomed. Instead of a standard sermon, we have choices!

So, there is an interactive talk available for adults, three children’s groups for different ages of children, and a discussion group option in our Lowry Room. We also provide a number of prayer stations each week, offering a creative and active way of praying.

These have included lighting a candle and placing it somewhere on a map of the world to pray for persecuted Christians, and writing something we want to put behind us and throwing it in a bin behind a cross.

We are also doing a Lent course at the moment, which meets on Monday evenings, 7.45-9.15pm in the Bulson Hall, and Tuesday afternoon, 1.30-3pm in the Lowry Room.

We are following Tim Heaton’s book The Long Road to Heaven, which is based on the film The Way. We started off the course by watching the film together with popcorn, and are now working our way through the sections, with lots of lively discussion.

If you want to get a feel for the kind of thing we’re talking about, why not catch the documentary on BBC2 tonight called The Road to Santiago, which features seven celebrities on pilgrimage in Spain?

St Faith’s Church is on Victoria Square, Lee-on- Solent. Go to stfaithslee.org.uk.