CANON BOB WHITE: The vicar of St Mary’s Church, Fratton looks forward to autumn

Father Bob White in front of the tower at St Mary's Church, Fratton, which the public can climb for the final time this year at the weekend. 

                Picture: Sarah Standing (160655-6154)
Father Bob White in front of the tower at St Mary's Church, Fratton, which the public can climb for the final time this year at the weekend. Picture: Sarah Standing (160655-6154)
Portsmouth Music Academy members at a previous concert for Stella's Voice

Head to the pub for fundraising sing-along

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Someone suggested recently that it might be better to have new year resolutions at the start of September rather than January.

The logic was that the beginning of the academic year is a better time to make a fresh start than at the start of the calendar year.

There is certainly a feel of ‘start up’ around as schools return and the weather turns autumnal.

In St Mary’s Church in Fratton this feeling is reflected in a variety of ways, as activities start up again.

We will host a barbecue on Sunday lunchtime – to celebrate the life we share together – from midday.

That afternoon at 4pm the St Mary’s Music Foundation will host its annual concert. This features the younger choir members singing and playing instruments.

The foundation exists to encourage and support our young people and to enable them to develop and enjoy their musical gifts and talents.

In between the barbecue and the concert, I and other colleagues from the parish will be taking part in a sponsored cycle ride around 15 places of worship in the city centre - within an hour!

This is all part of the Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust’s Ride and Stride weekend.

Most of this will happen on Saturday when across the country people are sponsored to walk or ride around local churches to raise funds for the preservation of their own church building and other historic churches.

These beautiful sacred spaces are used both for worship and often as a gathering place for a local community. The cost of their maintenance and repair requires a significant amount of fundraising.

The Ride and Stride event is one way to enjoy the spaces locally and help to raise much needed funds for the trust.

On Saturday, all three of the churches in our parish will be open to welcome cyclists. In addition there will be a nearly-new sale at St Mary’s Church and a coffee morning at St Wilfrid’s Church.

St Mary’s will also offer the last chance this year to climb the tower and so enjoy stunning views of the city. It is open from 10am to 11.30am.

This range of activities at the weekend is very much the start of our autumn season and we look forward to welcoming you and many others to explore what lies within. Why not make a resolution to pop along for a visit?