REV PHILIPPA MILLS: Connecting with people in a language they understand
The vicar of Whiteley Church on taking a new approach to encouraging worshippers.
If you’d come along to Whiteley Community Centre last Sunday morning expecting a regular church service you would have had a shock.
The hall was transformed into a bike maintenance hub!
Two local professional bike mechanics and a skilled amateur were offering to check bikes over, adjust brakes and give advice.
You could also have your bike security marked, your chain oiled and your bike washed.
Refreshments were available and there was a chance to focus on your spiritual health with some reflective activities too.
Everything was offered free of charge.
All of this has come about because Whiteley Church wants to be more outward-facing and find new ways to engage with and build community.
So once a month we run events called Outside the Box.
Events so far have included a litter pick, a walk through the woods and work on the church garden. Future ideas are for a summer walk, another litter pick and a skills sharing afternoon.
As a church we love meeting for worship on a Sunday morning but we are conscious that many people in Whiteley don’t know we exist or may not think we have any relevance to their lives.
Through Outside the Box we hope to meet more people, hear what sort of things they would like to be involved in locally and together run some events which benefit the wider community or make the most of the open spaces and woodland we have in Whiteley.
Last Sunday was Pentecost when the church remembers how the gift of the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to understand and be understood in many different languages – sharing the Good News and making connections across cultures.
Inspired by that story we are trying to do just that: to share the Good News in a language and style that connects with people beyond our regular congregation.
Whiteley Church meets at Whiteley Community Centre, Gull Coppice, Whiteley.
Go to whiteleychurch.org.uk.