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West Worcester Beacon Benefice’s Three New Worshipping Communities

Published: 18th June 2024

One of our four priorities as part of our vision to grow as kingdom people is to create 100 New Worshipping Communities by 2030. West Worcester Beacon, a benefice of four churches, have established three New Worshipping Communities.

New Worshipping Communities (NWCs) meet together in person or online at least once a month and reach people who are currently not attending church regularly, helping them to worship and grow in their faith. 

The NWCs in the West Worcester Beacon benefice are ‘Breakfast Church’ which is café style and meets at Christchurch Lower Broadheath on the first Sunday of the month, ‘Wild church’ which meets outside at St Martin’s Holt on the third Sunday of the month and ‘All Together’, which features craft-based activities and takes place on the first Saturday of the month at Hallow Church.  

Assistant Curate Paul Wilcox describes these New Worshipping Communities as “a monthly attempt to do something different to build on the other children’s activities that take place throughout the rest of the month” such as their ‘stay and play’ groups. He also feels it’s hugely important to have a follow-up to Baptisms.The children gather on the steps to hear a story

He said: “There are lots of pressures on family life. Sports clubs are often on a Sunday morning so that’s why it’s good to offer ‘a menu’ or a range of services and activities in different formats and on different days, that connect with the church community, that families can tie into.”

Breakfast church

Breakfast church, which the kids have nicknamed “Sausage church”, has been running about a year. It is an informal service and offers food to be more attractive to families. The clergy take turns in leading along with a team of volunteers, and they try to make it as interactive as possible, with quizzes and games. It’s held at Christchurch which has technology to be able to play You Tube videos.  

As a former teacher Paul suggests there are other simple ways one can make services more interactive. The team have a number of cards stuck to a board which detail ways children can help in the service such as handing out bibles and newsletters or coming up with an adult to light the candles. They also have cards for prayer time that feature certain prayer requests such as praying for the Royal Family or the sick. “Families enjoy being able to do these things together and the feedback has been very positive,” said Paul.

Wild church

Wild church meets monthly outside in all weathers at St Martin’s Holt and whilst numbers have remained static, the families that do attend, really engage with it.

“Children turn up in their wellies with their Carers and engage in nature related activities, themed by the seasons. It is a chance for families to come together and marvel at creation. Friendships have formed amongst the parents and grandparents, and it is an opportunity for clergy to check in with families too.”

In April they had Julie Granger come along who is a forest ranger at Monkwood (a forest on the edge of the Benefice), which proved very popular. She showed the children how to make nests out twigs and horsehair just as birds do and how to make pictures out of fragments of flowers and leaves. The run up to Christmas is usually popular too, when they make table decorations out of leaves and pinecones and other items found outside.

All Together

Families taking part in craft activitiesAll Together is the benefices’ most established New Worshipping Community and is well attended by around 40 families. There are a series of tables featuring different craft activities based on a theme. Those that want to can gather on the steps to hear the bible story from the vicar too.

It is aimed at being very inclusive. Paul said:

“Families come in different shapes and sizes, and we try to cater for all in order for everyone to feel welcome.”

He added:

“Although we are not worried if families from our new worshipping communities don’t come to our traditional services, it was great to see a few families from All Together at our Easter Day service, where we had over 100 people. I think we forget sometimes what a huge deal it is for people who haven’t grown up with church to come into our buildings. With the main services people always seem to worry about when they are supposed to stand up, sit down, speak aloud or come forward. This doesn’t matter so much with New Worshipping Communities because they are so informal.”  

Page last updated: Tuesday 18th June 2024 10:46 AM

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