Prayer and Study Groups

Over the years there have been a number of adult prayer and study groups which generally meet for a short series. They are varied and can include prayers and studying the Bible. One example held in the autumn 2018 was a course for enquirers called ‘Quest' and an 'Alpha' course was held in the autumn of 2019. 
The groups offer:
• An opportunity to be with Christian friends in a more relaxed way
• A setting to learn more about living as a Christian, hearing from the Bible and from one another
• A safe place of acceptance and trust in which we can talk about the challenges we face
• A ‘homebase’ for caring and mutual support

Lent Groups
Lent courses are held every year with each meeting generally beginning with a simple supper. A talk then takes place followed by smaller group discussions continuing the subject of the talk and finishing with re-forming for a final talk. One such Lent Group was focussed on everyday life and discussed topics ranging from sexuality to war and poverty.

In 2018 the material was based on ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ on the subject of prayer and in 2019 the Archbishop of York encouraged all to share in the Church of England’s LentPilgrim journey. Written by Bishop Steven Croft, co-author of the Pilgrim Course, the Pilgrim Journeys: The Beatitudes, provides a short daily reflection, a Bible reading, a prayer and suggested response. Throughout the season of Lent, the reflections were based on the Beatitudes, as taught by Jesus.  

Life Groups
House groups were revived in the autumn of 2017 and called 'Life Groups'. They meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Thursday afternoons in members’ homes and there are usually 8 - 12 attending each group. As well as being together to reflect on the Bible, the groups have the opportunity to get to know each other better, and to pray together. The evenings begin with coffee and opportunity for people to talk about what God has been doing in their lives, or any 'good news stories'. They then move on to a bible study and discussion and finally pray together to close the meeting. Past meetings have covered Paul's letter to the Philippians, the Sunday's readings, 'Your Course' investigating Easter with the impact of the Resurrection on our life, the church and the world, the Letter to the Hebrews, shadowing the Sunday lectionary readings, the Book of the Proverbs and our ‘frontlines’ and Exodus. The groups make way in Lent for the Lent Course, but recommence after Easter.

The following was written by a member of the group on Bringing the Bible alive! "This autumn we have had a valuable series of home meetings of the Tuesday Life Group. This has comprised Bible study of Paul’s Letter to the Philippians led by Derek relating its meaning to our lives and the world around us today. In our small group we have come closer together through the opportunity of open and rich discussion in a non-threatening atmosphere. The group felt that this has been an enjoyable and inspiring time, giving us the opportunity to give thanks for our blessings, share concerns, and pray for ours and other people’s needs.  All this has enabled us to benefit considerably from this experience, and we hope that others in the congregation may like to join us or another group in the future."

Anyone is welcome to join either group at any point.

Study groups Study groups Study groups
A Lent Study Group   A life Group

Social groups

A new community-based project, primarily for older people, was launched in February 2018 for friendship and support. Meeting in church, it provides a great opportunity to meet people in a safe environment. The plan is for a constantly changing range of activities to form part of each meeting, with everything from craft demonstrations and games to speakers. Now we have been running this newly formed group for about a year we are beginning to get a feel for what best suits those who come! We have settled on always enjoying a cuppa with one of Zena’s homemade cakes and we reliably have an ongoing jigsaw puzzle, card or table top game, carpet bowls and the chance to sit and chat. Additionally, we have had craft activities, speakers on a range of interests, hand massage, gentle exercises, book and magazine swaps and local history discussions. We have also tried a couple of extended sessions which have been popular and included a simple lunch. We will continue trying these and may be able to have a chance to listen to longer talks - it is encouraging that a few people have recently offered to do this in the coming year. We have also just begun to provide an excellent hearing aid support service, provided by the NHS, and this is going to be regularly held within our monthly sessions.

Not only church members have come along - it is good to see increasing interest from members of the local community, some of whom have become ‘regulars’. There is no cost and no membership expectations - it is great to see anybody who is passing, even if just for a quick drink and cake! Please come along if you are interested. We meet on the first Tuesday of each month from 11am-12.30pm (with occasional extensions) and there is usually a reminder on the weekly pew sheets in church.

St James’s Film Club / Pop Up Cinema
Going to the cinema has suddenly become a lot more local. St James’s has launched its own film club, making full use of the big screen and wonderful sound system and being free for all. The idea came from PCC member Josh Webb, and his family have now joined forces to offer the full experience, which includes sales of popcorn, drinks and snacks. There are cushions if the pews prove too uncomfortable! Shows are put on throughout the year with growing popularity within the whole community. Adult films alternate with children’s ones. 

St James's Theatre Club
An outing of some sort is organised occasionally and the aim is to get people together to have some fun during the week.  Right from the start it was a great success, with the response being very positive. Now that it is a regular fixture in St James’s social diary, people look forward to an evening out with old or newly acquired friends. If you’re interested in joining them, please see the notice board at the back of the church or contact Peter Hale on 020 979 9287. If you need a lift to the theatre, this is no problem as there are a number of people willing to drive. Everyone is welcome!

Gardening Club
A new Gardening Club was formed in 2018 and made a start on sorting out the churchyard. The initial phase included clearing and planting up the area on the car park side of the west porch. A peaceful new garden was planted on the Park Road side of the west porch in the summer of 2019. The Garden Club meets some four times a year and all are welcome for either light or vigorous activity, whichever you choose, as well as lots of fun, good company, hot drinks and, most importantly, care and enhancement of our lovely churchyard. We look forward to seeing you there.

Connections Film Club Gardening Group


The start of the Film Club

The Gardening Group

Music groups

Church Choir
The church choir supports the congregation regularly, though not every week, at Parish Communion services. In addition to the hymns, it sings at least one anthem, usually during the administration of Holy Communion, and sometimes an introit. The choir also leads the singing in the traditional Carol Service and takes part in many special services throughout the year. Find out more on the page The choir.

St James's Players
​This instrumental ensemble leads the music during the All Age services, accompanying the hymns and playing processional music at the end. The group also plays any other music needed during the service. It has supported the music in some special services, such as the Carol Services and Confirmations. Find out more on the page St James’s Players.

Choir Band Choir

The choir singing an introit

St James's Players

The choir singing an anthem

Groups for children

St James's Ark Playgroup
The Ark is a playgroup for carers and under-fives, which is Christian based and non-educational. It takes place in church on Monday mornings during term time from 10.15am - 12.15pm. There is a large regular clientele, some occasional visitors and new people are always welcome. £2 per family is charged with about 25 children (30 max) usually attending per week. Find out more on the page St James's Ark.

The Shell Seekers Sunday School
This is a lively, caring group for children aged four upwards, run by a range of adults from the church. The name is inspired by the shell that represents our church's patron saint, St James, and the fact that we are all seeking to further our knowledge of God and his love for us. The children meet during term time and always start and end their sessions in the church with the rest of the congregation so that they are included in the church service itself and feel part of it. Find out more on the page The Shell Seekers Sunday School.

Youth: Friends, Food and Fellowship
The older children, having outgrown Shell Seekers, have started their own group, combining friends, food and fellowship and led by the Children's and Families Worker, Dani. The core group of young people meet together monthly and enjoy different activities including attending the Unity project worship/game nights with area churches and youth groups. The group helps the young people grow in fellowship together and also helps them spiritually as they take the time to pray and chat about God’s relevance in their lives. Find out more on the page Youth FFF.

Uniformed Groups
St James's has an active relationship with the uniformed groups who are always welcomed into the church. Although they are not strictly Church organisations, being 'open groups', they nevertheless sometimes attend the church parade All Age services. They carry their flags in a colourful parade through the church and sometimes read lessons, say prayers and so on during the services. The scouts generally help with the autumn leaf clearance and they always support the Remembrance Day 11am service at the war memorial in the churchyard, forming a guard of honour with their flags.

Contacts:Brownies and Guides: 08001695901, Scouts:, Richard Moody on 020 8286 6918

Find out more

Groups through the years 

Uniformed Groups The Ark Shell Seekers

Some of the uniformed groups

St James's Ark

Shell Seekers Sunday School