The congregation from Sunday@3 took their annual pilgrimage to Brockenhurst over the Summer. Esther Clift writes ...
For some folk this is the furthest they have travelled for some time, so the delight of pointing out familiar landmarks, and memories makes the excursion all the more fun! It’s a chance to hear more about one another’s lives -
I didn’t know June was born in India, nor that her parents were both faithful members of the congregation, as church warden and church hall supervisor, and how hard it was for her to go into the hall after they died, as it was filled with so many memories for her.
Rev Neil Smart (a former curate at St James' by the Park, now vicar in Brockenhurst) had put together a great Songs of Praise style service with the Ringwood Salvation Army Band blowing their hearts out for us.
It was such a lovely sunny day, we were arranged under a tree to get some shelter from the sunshine. The brass band drew in folk who were passing, and neighbours to St Saviours who came out to see what was going on! There was a glorious celebratory atmosphere - a continuation of the party the day before to celebrate Neil being at Brockenhurst for 10 years.
Some of the folk were asked to tell their own stories through the hymn they had chosen. One lady explained that ‘To be a Pilgrim’ had been her school hymn, which she had sung though out her childhood with no idea as to its meaning. She’d done an Alpha course, more recently and met the real Jesus who she now follows, and the penny dropped for the old hymn!
It’s such an encouragement to hear peoples’ stories and their journey of faith, and to see that older people are also coming to faith. We have in this demographic, the last cohort of people who lived in the ‘Christian’ era (as apposed to our post Christian current days). Most people went to Sunday School, and have the basic teachings of Christianity as part of their schooling. But many have since moved away from a personal expression of faith, for a whole variety of reasons. Its really encouraging to see people re-engaging as they think again, or as they look for another community to engage with, and find the church to be welcoming, and relevant to where they are at. Research suggests that older people who have a sense of purpose and hope, often age much better than those who don’t. This gives us a compelling reason to invite people to join our community of faith.
Do you have an older neighbour you could bring along to Sunday@3? (which meets on the third Sunday of each month)
Or is there anyone in your family who might resonate with our quieter contemplative services at 9 am?
We are also planning a ‘Neighbourly Love’ tea party in conjunction with Communicare on February 10th in the Parish Hall, for anyone in our wider community, who might like to get out a bit.
Who might you invite?