Welcome to worship. It’s 10.30 on the first Sunday of the month and there’s a lot of mostly grey heads going to a traditional service … all very familiar except in the background is the smell of cooked bacon and coffee, because if you’d arrived an hour or so earlier you could have joined Bacon Butty Church with a widely age-ranged congregation celebrating worship in an informal service.
Or if you came in the evening, you could find a service centred on a Bible study, or a circle of people engaged in Godly Play. Planned preachers, please note we’re open to trying new things, morning or evening!
If it was Tuesday, there will be a group of young families sharing songs, a prayer and a story before some noisy play. On some Saturdays, a group will be quietly sharing thoughts and prayers whilst their bread is cooking in the oven. And during this Easter we waved palm branches with the No Strings Puppet Ministry on Palm Sunday, shared a Passover meal on Maundy Thursday, “walked” on Good Friday with Jesus as he went through his last agonising twenty four hours and, on Easter Sunday, celebrated a victorious communion – with or without bacon butties – followed by an Easter egg hunt for over twenty children in the Church.
So much for an introduction to our church, but what about the community we serve? A nice west Wirral town by the sea looking quite well off with lots of restaurants and some relatively expensive clothes shops. Except here too are people who struggle with money, illness or loneliness, or simply welcome the opportunity to share in the activities that take place within the church.
And how do we live out our calling? Here are examples of the church’s mission in action:
- Soup ’n’ Support
Home-made soup, cakes and scones (which are gaining a great reputation for quality) open the sessions of this group which supports people caring for family members. Attendance has spread from West Kirby across the Wirral. After lunch a speaker covers some topic to help carers in their demanding commitment.
- Craft Group
Every fortnight a group of about thirty ladies meet to chat and to make items to go into boxes which this year will be distributed by Teams4U – not just a time for companionship but a chance to make a real contribution to others’ lives.
- Bell Group
A hand chime playing group drawn from us and other churches which uses its skills to support services, special events and plays in the local residential homes.
- Techy Coffee
From a passing comment at a coffee morning, “we feel excluded” (by modern technology) has come a monthly open help session and more in-depth courses run in partnership with Age UK. Our reason for being involved can be summed up in the words of one attendee, “I’m happy to bring my computer here because I know it’s safe”.
- Pavement Window
The old church entrance, now a window, provides a great opportunity for an ever-changing display both telling the Gospel story and advertising events within the church.
- Beacon Magazine
Our well-established magazine recently has been relaunched in a new format and in colour. It has a print run of over 300 as a copy goes to everyone who meets on our premises, including the groups which hire our rooms.
- Praise in the Park
Last year, for the first time, we had an open-air service in Ashton Park. It poured with rain – God does indeed work in mysterious ways – but the event had a great atmosphere, so we’re not discouraged. We’ll be holding another service, with the involvement of St Bridget’s Church, this summer.
Most of these groups and activities are relatively new, having started within the last few years; they’re all driven by the passion of an individual or a group, each working out their faith in practice. We are fortunate in having been able to appoint a Community Development Worker who helps to support the congregation in their work.
At the same time, it’s important to remember there are other activities which have run for a long time. Not everything we try works and it’s vital to recognise the courage of people who are prepared to take risks, to stand up and be counted.
We are registered as a “A Place of Welcome” as well as being dementia and carer friendly, now we must live up to these labels!
We hope you’ve found this interesting, please contact us if you wish to know more. We ask for your prayers as we work out what we believe is our primary calling: to be, in the words of the church leaflet, a “‘Community Church for All’ … living out His teaching amongst our neighbours”.