St James's Church has always been good at providing parish social activities of all sorts and for all tastes and ages as it feels that it is important for people to interact with others, not just on Sundays, but through the week as well. Social activities are also viewed as an important part of the church's outreach by opening the church and hall, bringing people together and welcoming all members of the community, not just members of the congregation, into the church. They are co-ordinated by the Social Team and provide a social function for the church, incorporating the parish and the Christian (Church) Calendar.
• Connections is a community-based project for friendship and support, primarily for older people.
• The Gardening Club is for anybody with an interest in keeping the churchyard looking its best. 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.
• The Good Guys is a light-hearted definition of its members and is a fellowship and social group for men. It typically meets once a month for a meal and/or drinks at The Beech House in Hampton Hill. We welcome new members, young or old (18+). These social occasions have been very successful, and friendships have grown or been established as we get to know each other in a relaxed setting.
• Prayer & Study Groups/Courses are adult groups which generally meet for a short series. They are varied and can include prayers and studying the Bible.
• The 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.
• St James's Ark Playgroup 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.
• The Uniformed Groups have an active relationship with the church.
There are many seen and unseen helpers who quietly get on with the many tasks that produce the pleasant environment for worship, a smooth-running administration, and the enjoyable social events.
Worship today is not a solo performance by the Clergy, watched by a passive congregation. What goes into preparing the church for worship? There is a an Organist, a Choir, Servers, Welcomers, people who prepare the Parish Breakfast, people who read the lessons or say the prayers. What do the Parochial Church Council and Churchwardens do? There are people who handle the Finance, the Electoral Roll, Properties and Social events and the Administration - the hall bookings, the registers, the books of remembrance. Who supports the vicar in providing pastoral care - through Visiting the sick and housebound, through preparation for Baptism? Who keeps the churchyard, garden and courtyard tidy? Who Cleans the church, polishes the brass, arranges the Flowers, washes the altar linen, types the service sheets, organises the rotas and chooses the music?
And in our relationship with the wider world - we keep in touch with the Deanery and diocese, and with other Churches. We continue with our Charity work and maintain our links with overseas mission partners. Our magazine, The Spire, is prepared, printed and distributed and our website is kept up to date.
There are many other activities - from teaching children to cleaning out the gutters, from cooking and making coffee to washing up - and laundering the tea-towels. You can be as involved as you like and as you have energy to be! Look at these behind the scenes activities, celebrate our hidden helpers and encourage everyone to pray for them, to support them and to join them. Have a chat with Nick in the Office to see if any of them would suit you.
Find out more
Some of the Uniformed Groups
A Lent Study Group
The Gardening Group