Last Saturday Malvern Priory opened the church and grounds up to the local community with a family fun day. There were skate ramps, archery, a bouncy castle and face-painting outside the church with table tennis, pool, crafts and computer games inside. All activities were offered to the community completely free of charge and it’s thought around 400 people came throughout the day.

Archery @ Malvern prioryThe day was organised by a planning team including members of the Priory, the Diocese of Worcester, the YMCA and Malvern Youth Link. Organiser Ruth Pole said: “We came up with the idea while exploring how we could open the church to the local community and become a church without walls. It was important to us to be able to offer the activities for free and were fortunate that sponsorship from Churches Together in Malvern, Worcestershire County Council and Malvern Council, along with a contribution from the Priory, enabled us to do that. It’s been very positively received – there have certainly been lots of people here, and I’d like to say thank you to all those who have helped to make it happen.”

family fun inside the prioryThe team asked Active Youth Outreach services to help provide many of the activities and also contacted local charities to have stands. People could also enjoy refreshments inside the Priory or purchase an ice cream or hot pork bap!

The day came at the end of a ‘One Life’ week of activities at Dyson Perrins Church of England Academy and The Chase School. Katie Fisher, Chaplain at Dyson Perrins said: “Different people have been going into the two schools all week to encourage conversations about faith and life, including artists, a blacksmith and a Christian DJ. The aim was to create a bridge between church and school and it’s been great to see many of the school families come to the Priory for the fun day.”

One youth event in MalvernThe fun continued on Saturday evening with the ‘One’ youth event for 11 – 16 year olds. Around 60 young people gathered in the Priory to play games, worship God with a live band and listen to a talk by Phil Knox from Youth for Christ. Phil said: “Young people are the church of today, not tomorrow and it’s great to see the Church of England’s beautiful buildings filled with young people – they bring life and hope and can be the good news in a world of bad news and uncertainty.” Phil spoke to the young people about ‘story’ – God has a story and so do we all, one with a beginning, middle and end. He asked those present to give God their past, be with them in their present and trust him for the future.

Simon Hill, Youth Officer for the Diocese of Worcester, said: “We were really pleased with how the whole day went and are keen to do events like this in the future. It was brilliant to see so many new families coming into the priory and making contact with the church.”

Simon is happy to work with other churches who would like to organise a similar event for local families. Please do contact him on shill@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01386 442047