REV PAUL ARMSTEAD: Church buildings of our city offer so much time and space

The singercise club at St James Parish Hall, Milton
The singercise club at St James Parish Hall, Milton
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The vicar of St James Church, Milton on the wide variety of activities that take place inside churches

What a marvellous bank holiday weekend we have just had, and how wonderful to see so many people using the space to enjoy themselves.

By that I mean both the space that this city affords us by way of places such as our parks, beaches and the Common, as well as the space of time when many of us were lucky enough to take some time out of our hectic lives to do this.

Last week, I was able to meet a family who wanted to use a different space, the church, to take time to remember their grandfather on the anniversary of his death.

They’re not members of our regular congregation, but they occasionally come to St James Church for school events and at Christmas.

They recognised that the church building offered them a space where they could sit, light a candle and take time to give thanks for all that they had shared with their grandfather.

At the same time as this, the halls, which are located at the rear of our building were being opened up ready for an evening of fun and learning as the young people of the local scouting movement, the 5th Portsmouth Scout Group, would be arriving soon.

The church buildings of our city offer so much time and space for the local community to use.

Most have regular bookings and, as well as that, are able to offer opportunities for one-off lettings.

The events and organisations are sometimes part of the church’s activities and at other times are local groups using the space the church has to offer.

As I look down the list of people who use St James Halls I see the Milton Glee Club who are celebrating their 70th anniversary this year.

The choir has met here since day one.

Then there is Singercise, which is a group offering light exercise while singing along to popular music. It is aimed at our older residents and also those with learning difficulties. There are quieter times at Tai Chi and Slimming World. And the list goes on!

I do encourage you to see how church and community come together at your local church building.

It’s a valuable space for all!

St James Church is in Milton Road, Milton, Portsmouth.

To contact the church emails, call (023) 9273 2786 or go to