St James's social life through the years

Social life

It is not clear to what extent any organised social life existed in the village prior to 1863 but the early history of both St James's Church and the village of Hampton Hill were inextricably linked. The social life and groups of St James's have changed and developed out of all recognition over the years.

Social life through the years

The first vicar, Revd Fitz Wygram, saw his role as improving both the spiritual and social conditions of the new parish, and this included developing a wide range of social organisations. Have a look at Social life through the years which shows what happened from when records began up until 2017.

There are a number of ways that we still seek to build up the church’s social life, and community. Refreshments after the 9.30am and 11am services continue to be very important in making new people feel welcome and enabling members to talk to one another. Through the years other occasions occur including St James’s Day, breakfast on Easter day, Harvest Lunch and mulled wine after the Carol Service. In the summer of 2017 more social events were requested and so the newly named Social Team planned a year of events, including a Lent quiz night, fish and chip supper and a curry night. Special social events in 2018 included a quiz night, a wine tasting evening, a late summer supper and a concert with singer-songwriter Alistair Griffin. An indoor games evening for all the family was introduced.

The usual Tuesday communion service at 9.30am was developed into 'Communion and Coffee' on the second Tuesday of the month. After the short service people stayed for coffee and a social get-together and this proved very popular. A new community-based project, primarily for older people, was launched in February 2018 and was called Connections. Meeting in church, on the first Tuesday of the month from 11.00 - 12.30, it provided friendship and support and a great opportunity to meet people in a safe environment. 

Children's parties were held, including a paddling pool tea party in the vicarage garden, a teddy bears picnic, a late summer party, a celebration of light as an alternative to Halloween and an Epiphany party. 

Groups through the years

Over the years, many different groups came and went, and those not directly organised by, or associated with, the church took on a separate life of their own much as they have today. Have a look at St James's groups through the years which shows what happened from when records began up until 2017.

During 2017, the film club continued and a new Gardening Club was formed in 2018. St James's Ramblers group was formed running for about eighteen months, with occasional two mile walks ending with pub lunches. The Film Club / Pop Up Cinema continued to put on shows roughly once a month.

Lent courses continued to be held every year with each meeting generally beginning with a simple supper, then a talk, then smaller groups discussions to continue the debate before re-forming for a final talk. In 2018 the material was based on ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ on the subject of prayer and in 2019 on the Church of England’s LentPilgrim journey, the Beatitudeswhich provided a short daily reflection, a Bible reading, a prayer and suggested response.  

House groups were revived in September 2017 and were called 'Life Groups'. These were held every two weeks on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and continued through into 2019. In the autumn 2018 there was a course for enquirers ‘Quest’. From the autumn 2019 the group leaders took ownership and helped the courses develop. Julian’s group discussed topical issues, Derek’s group focused on Jesus’s parables and Scott’s group became a theological book group. An eight-part Alpha course was also held, the brand awareness making it attract newcomers.

Social Social Social