The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


The notice in the Church porch at St George’s on Sunday 17th July said “Don’t come to Church next Sunday!” Then, of course, we realised that on the 24th our Cluster churches were meeting at Crookhorn College for a special Eucharist celebrated by the Bishop of Portsmouth. We had already put down our names for various workshops which were to be part of the service, so we had some idea of what would happen.

The following Sunday we were directed by stewards to our car parks. We arrived fairly early, but already there were people sitting down and soon the band of Church of the Good Shepherd began singing the Gathering songs. Just before Fr Mike made the announcements as to what would be happening and then the Bishop and Clergy from all the Churches processed on to the platform. We noticed that there was no altar, flowers etc. The Bishop welcomed us and we commenced the service to just before the Eucharistic prayer.

At that point we were instructed to join the groups we had chosen and most of us dispersed to other parts of the campus to the various workshops, each headed by a leader. I had chosen to do the Intercessions and young Martin Lloyd was also in the group. We talked about the sort of prayers we should bring to the service and then we went into twos and threes to write our particular subject. The Bishop popped in to the groups to have a word and see what we were trying to do, which was encouraging. All too soon, it was time to return to the hall. What a difference our workshops had made! An altar had been built from bricks, flower arrangements decorated the stage, a choir was in place and Don Lloyd had got together a band to supplement Stella’s keyboard accompaniment for the hymns.

The handbell ringing group rang in the entrance of the procession of acolytes, servers, representatives from the various workshops, clergy and the Bishop. Other workshop groups had made candle holders, a cross, a crosier and supplied green chasubles and stoles decorated with handprints. All was now set for the Eucharist to continue and a coming together of all the congregations of our five Cluster churches. We were directed to various stations to receive the bread and wine and in spite of the numbers it all went smoothly. The Bishop’s Charge reminded us that we were all one in Christ and we offered each other the Peace before the last hymn.

Luckily it was a sunny morning, so many people were able to enjoy a picnic in the grounds after the service.

Looking back, I really enjoyed the experience of the workshops and the large congregation. I also realised that a great deal of background organisation and preparation had made the whole enterprise possible. Thank you to all who planned and brought together such a memorable Service.

Eileen Oades

Autumn Edition 2011

The Partnership Eucharist