Our church in the community through the years

Our church in the community through the years

The early history of both St James's Church and its community, the village of Hampton Hill, are inextricably linked. The first vicar, Revd Fitz Wygram, saw his rôle as improving both the spiritual and social conditions of the new parish, and this included developing a wide range of organisations to benefit the community. Some of these were explicitly religious, some were secular in their activities and others bridged the gap between them. However, all were based on his sense of Christian responsibility towards fellow human beings at a time and in a place where there were no other authorities able to take on the task. In this work he was helped by his leading laymen. "They looked after peoples' human rights and dignities, keeping them safe from injustice and encouraging healthy use of leisure." 

Have a look at Our church in the community through the years which shows what happened from when records began up until 2017.

During 2017 visitors were trained and organised to offer pastoral care. The aim was to provide a link with the church for those parishioners who were unable to attend or were in need of support at a particular time. Visiting the elderly and the families of those being baptised were particular foci. These parish visitors undertook safeguarding training through the year.

St James’s, being part of the ecumenical team providing services at Laurel Dene Residential Home, offered to take extra services at festival times. So a new venture was a carol service with members of the congregation and the Hampton Hill Junior School choir supporting the carol singing. Christmas services and also Easter services were held and are still held every year.

Churches Together enjoyed a Songs of Praise service in 2018 with favourite hymns chosen by a representative from each of the churches. It was a very special time of shared worship to celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. For the Women’s World Day of Prayer the order of service was devised by women from a particular country and used throughout the world on that day. Here, the service is held in one of the CTAH churches, with active participation from all the churches. Our closest neighbour is the United Reformed Church and their lay leader was invited to preach in the autumn of 2018. We also shared the Remembrance Sunday services with them.

We have had and still have an active relationship with the local schools who are always welcomed into the church on their visits. Groups from the schools visit to learn about the church to help with their Religious Education work. We also welcome these youngsters for their own special services, including their Christmas carol services. The clergy visit the local schools, sometimes taking assemblies or giving talks. 

We also have had and still have an active relationship with the uniformed groups who are also always welcomed into the church on their visits. The uniformed groups are always invited to St James's All Age services. The scouts help with the annual gutter clean and leaf clearance and also act as a guard of honour at the Remembrance services. The clergy also visit the Brownies, the Beavers, the Cubs, sometimes giving talks. 

The Film Club / Pop Up Cinema was launched in 2017 making full use of the big screen and sound system. It showed films throughout the year with growing popularity within the whole community. Adult films alternated with children’s ones, every film being free for all. 

 In 2018 on the day before St James’s Day, an invitation event (Open to View) was organised for the community. This included an organ recital, tea and cakes, tombola, a Traidcraft stall, a plant stall, tours of the church and the tower with the afternoon concluding with a children’s film. The experiment was considered very successful as there were a good number of visitors for this the first time so the event was repeated the following year, again being very popular.


Community Community Community

Taking a service at Laurel Dene

A community Carol Service

Taking part in Hampton Hill Fair