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.
By invitation, 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 everyone 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. Donations for the produce are given to Basics Bank to benefit those in need in the parish.
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.
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 provided.
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.
Our Good Neighbours pastoral visiting scheme is led by Phillip Attwood, who is part of our leadership team at St Mark’s. We are a group of volunteers from both the community in Pennington and from the church who accept requests for our time from those within our community. Our aim is to visit anyone in our parish who is lonely, has been bereaved or simply needs somebody to talk to them on an informal basis. 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? 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 streets 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 we take the Open the Book scheme into the school so the children can learn about the Bible stories and their meaning in their lives today. Both the infant and junior schools regularly come into church at times of celebration.