Community outreach ideas
05 July 2018
Churches have always been the focal point of their community, a place where people could turn to for companionship and support. We’re pleased to say that community spirit is still very much in evidence today, as the inspiring entries to our church competition, ‘Reaching Out, Inviting In’ prove.
Need some inspiration?
We asked churches to send us details of how they had engaged with their community during the past year. Whether it was a one-off event or an ongoing outreach project, if it was making a difference we wanted to hear about it.
A place of refuge
Until September 2015, a church in the diocese of Guildford had gone through a long period of interregnums and there was a sense in the community that the church was dwelling on its own problems. Then something wonderful happened.
The Diocese Refugee Support Coordinator contacted the new vicar with news that two Syrian families were to be housed in the parish. The congregation sprung into action to help the families settle in to their new surroundings.
A Friendship Feast
A congregation of just 15 members decided to do something to encourage villagers back into the church and rebuild a sense of community. Thanks to a series of events publicised via a monthly newsletter, every two months All Saints church in East Yorkshiren hosts a Friendship Feast in the village hall.
The Feast is a bring-and-share lunch, where people from across the village can come and enjoy each other’s company. Members of the church also take meals out to people who are unable to attend due to ill health.
Holidays at home
One long weekend every April, a Cambridgeshire church and hall is transformed into a holiday destination. Eighty or so ‘holiday makers’ from the village descend on the church, where helpers are gathered to make sure they all have the holiday of a lifetime.
Each year the holiday takes a different theme. From the Orient Express, with belly dancing and regional cuisine, to a seaside holiday with sand, paddling pool and lashings of ice cream, just about anything is possible.
The idea was to give this section of our community the excitement of a holiday but in a safe environment. They could try new experiences, meet new friends and get involved in activities they would never normally consider.
Supporting young families
A church in Angell Town, London, set up the Baby Friendly Church Policy to support young families. With two volunteer midwifes on the team, the aim was to reach out to mothers to help them bond with their babies, giving them a positive social network and creating a baby-friendly church.
The project holds workshops on baby health, breastfeeding and bottle feeding in schools and community centres as well as the church. One important aspect is encouraging mothers and families to tell their stories, which helps bring groups together within the community
Out and about club for pensioners
So many people seem to think that elderly people have no appetite for anything more exciting than bingo. St Stephen’s Church in Dulwich decided to fight the stereotype by creating a monthly programme of exciting activities for elderly people to enjoy.
The ‘Out and About’ club kicked off in April 2015, with an inaugural lunch at a local restaurant. Since then the club has visited the Poppy Museum, gone on Christmas shopping expeditions, arranged private screenings of movies and much more.