SOMETIMES it is easy for people to dismiss the church as irrelevant to our society.
Some even suggest we would be better off without it.
What people often don’t see is the amazing amount of voluntary work that goes on up and down the country.
In some rural parts of the UK, the church is the only community organisation left, after the pub, post office and community centre have closed down or moved away.
Churches run open youth clubs in places where there is nothing else provided for teenagers.
Congregation members visit housebound people who have no family living nearby.
Worshippers feed the homeless, run food banks, support families in crisis and much more.
And they do it primarily because of their Christian faith.
In Fareham, there are examples of churches doing many of these things, but I’d like to tell you about one specific thing we are doing at St John’s.
Tomorrow, we are hosting an event that will help you to help those valuable senior citizens in our community.
From 3pm until 5.30pm tomorrow afternoon, we’ll have a range of organisations in church showcasing what they do to help older people.
The idea is to find out what we can all do to tackle loneliness and isolation among senior citizens.
Organisations that focus on health, fitness, hobbies, home support and finance will all be there, offering details of the events and activities that they can offer to more elderly people.
These things can not only help older people to remain physically active, but also keep them mentally agile and widen their circle of friends.
We’ll have a stall there telling people what we offer at St John’s Church for elderly people as well – a loving community of Christians, who are only too happy to help.
Then on Sunday we have something a bit different.
We are holding a service of prayer and praise from 4pm, at which people will be invited to sing and pray together, and to share how they have benefitted from being part of St John’s Church.
If you have been helped by people from our church, you would be welcome to come, to share your own experiences.
o St John’s Church is in Upper St Michael’s Grove, Fareham.
For more information go to stjohnsfareham.org.uk.
Rev Bruce Deans is vicar of St John’s Church, Fareham