Messy Church is a worldwide initiative to spread the gospel of Christ to children and their families in a friendly and informal way. It is an opportunity to let God’s word be heard to those who might not be able to get to regular Church and through the provision of a hot meal after the craft activities and story, is a way to ensure those who attend are both spiritually and physically full. A very popular outreach initiative for St Marks in Pennington, our Messy Church features an active congregation who are experiencing God’s teachings in a new and exciting way.
We offer a two-course, home-cooked meal for those in our community who would like the opportunity to share a meal with friends. Perhaps family have moved away, friends have passed on and of course neighbours nowadays are happier to keep to themselves than socialise with those next door. It’s open to any, faith or not, and brings people together in a friendly and warm environment.
Vegetable garden project
Below the east window of the church, just past the memorial garden, is a small plot of land that has been given over to growing fruit and vegetables. The project has taken off and developed as more vegetables are shared out. Our aim is to increase our production so we can share the produce in the village.
Fetes and bazaars
Of course, what parish church doesn’t offer a summer fête, a winter bazaar or the like? It’s a traditional image people hold of how a church reaches out to the community but it’s an important one. With fun and games for kids, tombolas, raffles and stalls selling used but still useful items, it’s a great way to bring the community together.
With the hustle and bustle of modern life, where the working day for many starts on the train to work and carries on into home on the evening, it’s of no surprise that many of us feel pressured. We meet every month at St Marks and offer a quiet space to let our brains recharge – allowing our minds the chance to put those daily niggles and worries into perspective. Again, open to all – and offering a truly perfect way to wind down and recharge for the busy week.
Strictly Come Crafting
Our craft group meets twice a month in the Church Centre and is opened to anyone – bring along a project you’re working on, or ask for some help to improve basic skills. Only £2 per person for two and a half hours of conversation and crafting, with homemade cake and a hot drink thrown in.
Helping couples prepare for their wedding
Sadly, at what should be such a happy time, we have to accept that almost half of all marriages contracted this year will end in divorce. Having a time of preparation can help iron out some of the bumps that might otherwise trip us up, in those early years of marriage. Marriage preparation may sound dull, but ours isn’t – think ‘Mr and Mrs’!
Providing support for those who have lost loved ones
As anyone who has been bereaved knows, it’s the time after the funeral which can be the most difficult. Our clergy follow-up all funerals to ensure that support is available to those families who need it.
Lay pastors – otherwise known as parish visitors – work under the leadership of Christine Scott. We are a group of volunteers from St Marks who accept requests for our time from those within our community. Our aim is to visit anyone who is lonely, have been bereaved or simply need somebody to talk to them on an informal basis. Many of those we visit are not church goers and there is no religious agenda – for many, it’s simply a friendly face and accepting ear to listen. Do you want to help – or would you like for us to visit with you? click here to contact us.
The Street Pastors is a nationwide ‘Churches Together’ endeavour, to offer support to anyone in society who need it. Generally out on the highstreet of local cities, towns and villages, they are a simply a friendly face to those who need someone to talk to – be they lonely, homeless or simply the worse for wear after a night on the town!
An email to St Marks answers fully why this initiative is so important; the simple offer of a helping hand can mean a big difference to those in need:
“on Saturday night (22/07/15) myself, boyfriend and 7 month old baby were stranded on the A337 between Lymington and New Milton for 2.5 hours in the dark and wet when our car broke down. The street pastors came across us and waited with us until the breakdown recovery came. They supplied us with water, sweets and most important reassurance and support. I just want to say thank you. It was a very distressing situation especially due to having such a young child with us but the street pastors made things better by just being there. Keep up the amazing work that you do. Helen , Jon and baby Ellis xx”
Assemblies, properly called ‘collective worship’ are a requirement of every school, whether or not they are a ‘church school’. PJS is, of course, a church school, and our clergy lead worship there at least once each week. The county junior school also kindly invites us to speak to the children once each half-term. Several requests for baptism, from the children themselves, has come out of this contact, and parents welcome the informal teaching their children receive. Both the infant and junior schools regularly come into church at times of celebration.