Reaching out and welcoming others

Guests can kneel in front of the decorated altar in St Mary's RC Church, Gosport
Guests can kneel in front of the decorated altar in St Mary's RC Church, Gosport
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It’s a Saturday evening 
and the 6pm mass has just ended.

The church is alight with candles, the altar is beautifully decorated.

Musicians, the street missionaries and welcome teams are ready.

We have many friends and parishioners in prayer.

It’s 7.30pm. The doors are open and another evening of Night Fever begins.

So what is Night Fever all about?

Simply it is inviting passers-by to come into church, to light a candle and say a prayer in front of the altar.

There’s an atmosphere full of prayer in the church, and certainly the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Our street missionaries are out on the High Street, talking to passers-by who might be off on a night out.

If someone does want to light a candle or say a prayer, they are guided into the church.

Our welcome team greet our visitors as they leave, answering any questions.

Many put their thoughts in the visitors’ book.

Some of our guests are now kneeling in front of the Holy Eucharist, some with tears, deep in thought, some writing prayer cards.

We have visitors who have never been in church before, or only for weddings and funerals.

There are those who haven’t been to church for a long time – some wish to speak to a priest.

There is quiet, contemplative music, which goes on through the evening and helps people to reflect.

We end with a short service at 10.30pm, which people are welcome to stay for.

We have between 80 and 100 visitors in the evening.

Then there are those who decline the invitation or are unable to come in on this occasion.

But we pray for them too, and we know God will speak to them another time.

At the end there is a feeling of awe, amazement and peace.

Night Fever is not only a great evening, but a wonderfully simple way of reaching out to others.

It’s a way of showing God’s love to people who are out on a Saturday night and may be going through difficult times themselves, or who may want to pray for loved ones.

Why not come and see for yourself? You will be very welcome.

The dates for Night Fever for the rest of 2016 are: June 18, September 17, October 29 and December 3.

To find out more about what goes on at the clurch, please visit saintmarysgosport.com.