The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville
The school summer holidays are now with us and that raises several challenges to St. George’s Church. With extra children walking around Waterlooville, and with extra time on their hands, an empty Church building can easily become a place for adventure. Now it’s really important that children and young people are not barred from the Church but are made very welcome. Their experience now may well shape their attitude to the Church for ever. This has to be balanced, of course, against the potential threat of damage and vandalism, incidences of which both rise during school holidays.
At St. George’s we want to welcome everyone into the Church where they can find a place for prayer, a place of quiet and a place where the presence of God can be experienced. During the summer, therefore, the Church doors will be open to all but only in the mornings. The doors will be locked from lunchtime onwards. In this way the balance between an open welcome to the Church and a sensible stewardship of the building can be maintained. All evidence shows that open Churches with people walking in regularly are far less likely to be attacked or damaged than locked Churches, so please make a point of dropping into the Church as you pass.
The other challenge to St. George’s from school holidays is how to worship on Sundays as a whole group. Normally children are welcome to join the Sunday School in term time, although some choose to remain in the Parish Eucharist, which is fine. During the holidays, when no Sunday School is meeting, adults and children are going to worship together, this year looking at different Christian symbols. It’s really important to make it clear to everyone of whatever age, that God doesn’t go on holiday!
Have a great summer.
Fr. Mike, Parish Priest
Summer Edition 2014