I was asked to introduce visitors to this web page by defining what is meant by “Church in the Hall”, but instead I have preferred to answer a different question – namely “Why is Church in the Hall”?
To answer that question one has to put the clock back to a PCC meeting that I attended early in 2011. The topic for discussion was one that I imagine is debated at similar such meetings around the Country – how to we reach out to, and engage with, younger members of the community? How is “church” relevant to young families in the 21st century?
I suggested one possible way of advancing this debate might be to invite such families to give their views and tell us what they wish to see from their local Parish Church. So we did just that, at a meeting held in May of that year and the ideas and suggestions I think surprised us all, but what clearly emerged is that families do want to meet for worship and to expose their children to Christian teaching but in an environment in which they feel comfortable and where different ways of learning can be explored and both adults and children can express themselves creatively.
And so, in October the same year, “Church in the Hall” was born and has gone from strength to strength attracting all ages from the village and beyond and well supported by regular members of the St Mary’s congregation. As of October 2016 we are 5 years old – where does the time go? – so to mark this milestone we have increased from one Sunday a month to two Sundays! Our worship, in Redlynch Village Hall, is now on the first and third Sundays of every month at 9.45 am for 10.00 am. We have also incorporated a light breakfast available from 9.45 am which allows more opportunity for people to meet, chat and build relationships. All are welcome.
Our Team Priest, Rev Veronica Batchelor (St Mary’s is part of a group of parishes called the Forest and Avon Team Ministry) leads our worship but she is supported by a number of congregation members and, increasingly, by mums and dads from the families for whom Church in the Hall has become part of the fabric of their lives.
Do you still need to know “What is “Church in the Hall”? It is relaxed – it is truly “all age” – it is creative and innovative – it is sociable and fun – we sing songs, study the bible and have prayers, make things, have discussions – and above all we learn about Jesus and the difference He can make to our lives and the lives of everyone if He is given the chance.
So just come along and find out for yourself. Dates are advertised in the Church Magazine and on this website or you can sign up to receive our monthly e-newsletter. Just e-mail a request with your name to the e-mail address below or you can call me. We look forward to welcoming you soon.