Saturday, 11 December 2010

Christmas – what’s it all about?

prezzies I calculated I have to buy 36 presents before Christmas which is in precisely 15 days, 13 hours, 26 minutes, 12 seconds and counting. I have to write three times as many Christmas cards, order a turkey, a plethora of cheeses, decide what special super, duper, knock the pants of my guests pudding I am going to make for boxing day, make 30 gingerbread men, wrap all the presents once I’ve bought them (oh joy of joys – I’m not cut out to be a Blue Peter presenter if you get my drift) and oh, loads more things that I can’t even bear to think about otherwise I will start sweating and shaking.

For me, the best thing about preparing for Christmas is that you can drink alcohol pretty much any time of the day without people asking too many questions. However, even as I sit here contemplating the real meaning of Christmas even the alcohol doesn’t offer much comfort. I mean, ”what’s it all about?”

Surely writing a card with a special, personal message that brings joy to the person reading it should be a pleasure? Planning a delicious meal to delight the family and friends should create a warm, healthy glow in one’s cheeks (or is that the alcohol again?!)

babyjesus When you strip away all the baubles and bling basically Christmas is about one baby in a manger, one baby that was so special the angels could be heard singing from heaven, one baby so special wise men travelled for miles to worship him, one baby so special we are still worshiping him today.

So why don’t we do that? Rather than dashing from one carol concert to a nativity play jamming in a bit of shopping in between and making sure we have the best lights display in the whole neighbourhood lets just stop all this nonsense and take time out to really immerse ourselves in the true meaning of Christmas.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Get into the True Spirit of Christmas

spcmas4Christmas is just round the corner.

Have you bought the turkey, written your cards or is the manic season just beginning for you?

How are you really going to celebrate Christmas this year?

St Paul’s has some great services to help you get into the true spirit of Christmas. At Christmas time the church looks wonderful, decorated with its enormous Christmas tree and beautiful star hanging from the old, beamed rafters.

The carols by candlelight on Sunday 19th December really starts Christmas for me. It is a time to sing for joy but also to reflect on the meaning of Christmas.  On Christmas Eve we shall be spcmas1definitely going to one of the 3 Christingle services as a family. These services are especially for children, though people of all ages would enjoy this. Christingle services are identical at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm, where you will hear the Christmas story and watch the nativity scene build up before your eyes with a real live Mary and baby Jesus. The children receive a ‘Christingle orange’ complete with sweets and a candle to represent the fruits of the earth and Jesus being the light of the world. The church is always packed and the buzz and excitement is contagious.

Midnight Holy Communion on Christmas Eve at 11pm is a beautiful quiet service and there is something special about singing carols so late into the night to welcome Christmas day.

spcmas3 We have family over for Christmas Day and there will be three generations of us going to the Family Celebration on Christmas morning. There are two celebrations one at 9.30am and one at 11.15am. These are lively events complete with singing and a poignant message aimed at all ages. Then hundreds of balloons are released into the church  to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  If you prefer something quiet there is a gentle holy communion at 8am. There are so many services to choose from but if you really want to get into the true spirit of Christmas why not go to them all?!


For more information, contact the St Paul’s office on 01276 700210 or email

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Healing on the Streets Launches in Camberley 2011


A new venture will be starting, in the town centre, from the end of January; it is called ‘Healing on the Streets’ (or HOTS if you like a slick acronym). Nikki went to talk to Chris, from St Paul’s, about this initiative.

So who, or what exactlY, is ‘Healing on the Streets’?

“We believe that God can heal people of any sickness or disease. We provide a small area of peace, out on the pavement in the town centre, where people can come and get prayer for their healing. It is completely free, there are no strings attached. It is a simple model of how we can show the love of God, to people in our town, irrespective of their background, race, gender, sexuality or creed. We believe that God loves them unconditionally, although many don’t know it yet.”

Hmm, sounds interesting. How does it work in practice?

“Well, it’s quite simple really, we set up a few chairs in the town centre and invite passers-by, should they want, to come and take a seat and let us pray for them. Prayer is talking to God and also listening to him. We will ask if we can lay a hand on the person’s shoulder as part of this. We expect to see God healing people.”

HOTS2011_0205(024)What if someone has prayer but is not healed?

“God loves the person whatever the apparent outcome of the prayer and we want to make sure this is made quite plain. However we also want the person to know that healing can be a process and that there may be a degree of healing that will happen over time. If there is no discernable change in the person’s condition, we would love to pray again on another Saturday.”

Some would say it sounds like magic, does it really work?

“I have certainly prayed for people who have had quite clear changes in their condition, for instance a friend of mine, John, whose knee pain disappeared instantly and never returned! I guess if you’re sceptical, try it—you have nothing to lose, except of course your sickness and your scepticism.”

Where’s the catch if it’s free, do I need to come to church?

“No, not unless you decide you want to. We would always give anyone who has been prayed for an envelope with contact information and some more information about what has taken place and why. We are not doing this just to drum up business.”


Do I have to be a Christian?

“No, not at all. You can be a member of any faith or of none.”

Is it confidential?

“Absolutely. We would follow the same rules that would apply at a doctor’s surgery. “

When should I consider prayers for healing?

“Nikki, we believe that prayer can be used at any point. However we strongly advise people to seek professional health advice in exactly the same way that they normally do, and not to see this as ‘instead of’ normal medical treatment or advice. We also advise anyone, even if they feel they have been totally healed, not to stop any prescribed medication. They must decide this only with their doctor.”

Chris, thank you for letting us know more about HOTS; I will certainly be looking out for your banner in Camberley when you get started.

The HOTS model was pioneered by the Causeway Vineyard Church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, but it has now spread across the UK with groups in towns all around the country. For instance it has been happening in Reading, Andover, Winchester and Woking. Try putting ‘Healing on the Streets’ into a Google search or YouTube.


Healing on the Streets launches in Camberley on 29 January 2011, to run on Saturdays. For more information, contact Andy

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Pocket Money Tea Time

thursdayChildren from Crawley Ridge Junior School saved up their 2p’s to give the elderly folk a delicious afternoon tea which would match that of a five star hotel. The children first met the folks at their weekly coffee morning at St Paul’s in July when they sang to them and served up refreshments. The group obviously made an impression on the youngsters as the children decided to collect their pennies and in total raised £50. Fun and laughter was shared by all with a hearty sing-along of favourite songs, topped off with a delicious spread of dainty sandwiches, cream scones and scrumptious cakes.

The coffee morning is for seniors and runs every Thursday at St Paul’s from 10.30am until 12pm. It is a lovely opportunity to meet friends old and new and share a cuppa. Everyone is welcome and there is always a plentiful supply of home made cakes and of course pots of coffee and tea.

You can just turn up on the day, but if you would like to know more call Claire Isherwood on 07854 549154.

Happy Days.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Debt Advice

Debt and benefit advice is provided free from “Frontline”, a new debt and benefits advice service in Camberley, which is a charity registered with The Office of Fair Trading.

debt adviceGovernment cuts, the cost of living, redundancy, and pay freezes are all concerning. More than that, they impact us all. Every month when it’s time to pay the bills, it’s getting harder to make your money go further. To give you an idea of the extent of the problem, "debt advice" on Google gets 49,500 searches a month in the UK.

Debt can easily creep up on you, and you feel like you’re on your own, with an incredible weight on your shoulders. Final demands, constant phone calls and threatened court action, are all scary things if you have recently got into an unmanageable situation, where you can’t afford the cost of living.

Now, Camberley has “Frontline”. Frontline recognise that often people get into debt through no fault of their own. They aren’t buying fancy cars, Rolex watches, or clubbing every night. They are genuine people, who are finding it hard to manage in the current financial climate we are in right now.

Frontline in Camberley has a team of trained volunteers, who you can make an appointment with, so that they can help you get back on track.

benefits advice I spoke with Charles Bruce, who is one of the advisers at Frontline in Camberley, about the service they provide.

Why is Frontline a free service?

“We are a Christian based organisation. We see a need in the community for help of this sort, and we’re anxious to provide it. By definition, our clients don’t have any money, so trying to charge them for this service  would be counter-productive. We are funded elsewhere, and this service is totally free, and confidential.”

Can you tell me more about what help you can provide people in debt, or on low wages?

“We can help people who can’t manage their debts, who are deeply in debt, who are in trouble. This trouble might take the form of bailiffs, evictions, inability to pay their council tax, all sorts of things. These are just the external symptoms, the real problem is the debt. One of the ways we can do it is by helping them to be sure they are getting all the benefits they are entitled to, which quite often can make a big difference to the way they handle their debts. We can get between people and their creditors, and take the load off them. We can take away the constant telephone calls and threats from bailiffs, and give them time, with our help, to organise how they are going to deal with the problem.”


“Our service is free, we welcome anyone of any religion, sex, denomination, ability, disability; everybody is welcome. If someone should express an interest in Christian pastoral care, we can provide that, but if they don’t, we won’t. It’s as simple as that.”

free debt advice This might sound like a stupid question, but how do I know when I‘m in debt?

“…Most people get into debt, because like many people in our society today, they live very near the financial edge. That is, their income covers their expenditure each week or month, but only just. This can happen to quite well paid people as low paid people. Expenditure does tend to match income. If anything changes in their circumstances; a redundancy is the biggest… or their partner leaves, or their lease terminates and the rent increases, or even an unexpected baby. All these things can tip someone from their income matching their expenditure, to being insufficient for their expenditure. Unless addressed, the debt grows and grows and becomes a big problem.”

Admitting to having a problem with debt, is very difficult for most people. It’s very embarrassing. They try not to admit to it, to ignore it. Generally you can ignore it for quite some time. You can charge things up on your credit card, take out loans etc.. but eventually it will catch up with you. A big event normally sparks the problem. Someone is threatened with the bailiffs, or they can’t pay their council tax, or the rent. That’s usually when people turn to Frontline. I would advise people to speak to us sooner rather than later, but human nature being what it is, that doesn’t happen often.”


“Whatever questions you might have, we will help you find the answers!”



You can get in touch with Frontline to make an appointment, for free, confidential advice, in the following ways:-

By Phone: 07880 711730 (24 hour message line)


Or write to:

Camberley Frontline

St Paul’s Church Centre

Crawley Ridge

Camberley GU15 2AD

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Let’s Go Glow 2010 – The Free Party for 4-11 Year Olds

paint ‘Glow’ is our annual free alternative to a Halloween party, for children aged between 4-11 (under 4's welcome, but are the responsibility of parents). Glow is a fun formula of games, craft activities, worship and a short God slot.  Children are encouraged to dress up in something bright, shiny and sparkly.
2008_1031Glow0063 “The kids have a great time doing the activities, but also love to be part of the large crowd having fun together. We usually dress up as super heros too. Last time we were the Batman family” – Andy Salt


So where’s the catch? Why is it free?

No catch. We love having fun, and have a great children and youth team at St Paul’s. Traditionally, Halloween is celebrated, which consists of dressing up as ghouls and ghosts, and generally very unpleasant characters in order to ward off harmful spirits. However, at St Paul’s, we prefer to celebrate All Saints (in honour of all the saints), which occurs around the same time as Halloween, but is a much more positive and appropriate event. So that’s what we’ll be doing as part of Glow 2010. The party is funded by our children’s ministry.
GlowAll You Need To Know
What: Glow Party (Halloween Alternative)
When: Saturday 30th October between 4pm and 6pm
Who: Children aged 4-11 (under 4's welcome, but are the responsibility of parents).
Why: Because it’s fun, and we love to celebrate!
Where: St. Paul's Church, Crawley Ridge, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 2AD

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Camberley Day of Action

poverty Helping people and not judging. That’s one of the key things Jesus told us to do. St Paul’s have decided to take this seriously. Of course pretty much everyone at St Paul’s is already involved with their own charity work, whether it is giving, helping or managing. However St Paul’s felt that working as a church to help the needy would spread the message that we are serious about doing Jesus’ work. On Saturday 16th October St Paul’s will be holding a Day of Action, where groups of people will be taking on projects in the community. Projects include painting and decorating, gardening, collecting litter and laying a patio.
john It is shocking just how much poverty there is in Camberley. There are families who are struggling to make ends meet and really don’t have the time or energy to think about painting a bedroom or carpeting a landing. John Looby, Chairman of St Vincent De Paul (an international charity that is focused on providing for the poor) knows this more than anyone since he spends 24/7 helping those in need. I was shocked to discover SVP Camberley recently helped a person who had taken shelter under a bridge. They were homeless, cold and hungry. In Camberley? Are you sure?    Sadly, this is the truth.  “At SVP Camberley, we work hard to provide whatever is needed from furniture to food. Monetary gifts are great and yes we are always in need of that but often a helping hand is just as good,” say’s John, “For example last Saturday morning a few of us gathered to clean up some oven’s and freezers urgently needed for some young families. An hour or two is often all that is needed.”

besom_logo Grace has been working with the Besom for a number of years. She helped set up the Camberley office which consists of a telephone,a garage and a corner of a warehouse to store furniture, clothing and anything needed to set up a home. The Besom is a Christian charity that works on Jesus’ principal of helping those in need by facilitating churches to help the poor. She works closely with St Vincent De Paul to help those in Camberley. “It makes good sense to work together,” she says, “We are all fighting the same cause; eliminating hardship and providing for those in need.”

Both the Besom and SVP Camberley are among the organisations who have provided projects for the St Paul’s Day of Action. Other Camberley churches are also getting involved on this day and we hope that this will become a huge annual event for all the churches in Camberley together.
becca Becca Mayne, Head of Social Transformation at St Paul’s and Coordinator of the Day of Action is passionate about helping the community and explains St Paul’s mission like this; “We are helping those in need in our community because this is what God commanded us to do. We do this, not to evangelise but because Jesus reached out to those in need and we want to do the same. We reach out with joy and love in our hearts and not out of duty.” Last year Becca took her 10 year old daughter Acacia with her to visit the projects. “Acacia saw how tough some people’s lives are. It really made an impression on her and made her realise how fortunate we are and that we should be thankful for our blessings.”

So Saturday 16th October is the Day of Action and groups of people will be spending their time painting, gardening and hopefully brightening up people’s lives. The rewards are amazing as you see the impact of a few hours work on people’s lives and on neighbourhoods. “Neighbour’s passing by were curious as to why a group would be prepared to give up a day of their time to tidy up a garden,” say’s Becca speaking of last year’s day of action, “The children came over to chat and one set of neighbours even rang the press to tell them what was going on!”

Follow live updates on this years Day of Action on Twitter and Facebook on Saturday 16th October.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Ping Pong – Autumn Sport

tab1 So the Autumn has hit us, with wind, rain and cold weather. Too windy for tennis, but not for table tennis!
“Table tennis, also known as ping-pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight, hollow ball back and forth using table tennis rackets.” - Wikipedia
St. Paul's run free table tennis for adults of all levels, on Monday evenings between 7.30 & 9.30pm. We have around 10 players (men and women).  Most players had not played for some time, but have surprised themselves at how quickly their touch returned.  The evenings are great fun, the standard is good and fairly even across the membership resulting in many close games.  We play the old scoring method to 21 and mainly doubles to avoid long sit outs.  Singles are played as and when numbers dictate.
We are looking for new players so whether you currently play or used to why not come and have a try out.  There is no need to feel embarrassed if you are worried about whether you are good enough. You are welcome to come along and meet us and judge for yourself before playing.  tab2
To find out more, call Graham on C. 23675 or email
You might also be interested in joining our walking group, more info here.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Walking Normandy (England)

P1000366 Early Saturday starts – are they a good idea?

The answer has to be ‘yes’ on a fine clear September morning with the sun emerging into a pale blue sky and taking the chill off the air.
No doubts that the day fits the name of the walking group this month (Fine Weather Walkers).

Our walk started at Wood Street Village near Normandy (Surrey not France). Seventeen of us set off to enjoy walking beside fields, through copses and under the canopy of more wooded land; every month we are reminded of the pleasing variety of the English countryside virtually on our doorstep. This time we were delighted to discover (and sample) blackberries both sweet and tart growing luxuriantly amongst the hedges, and there were sloes and rosehips for the more ambitious to collect for future use.

P1000369 It paid to look closely where we were walking – or taking a coffee break – as we espied a small frog amidst the grass; but equally the distant view showed a group of deer bounding in a line across a field which sloped up to the Hogs Back in the distance, and a glance upwards at one stage revealed a pair of para-gliders taking the concept of fresh air to new heights.


A Fine Weather Walkers’ walk always promises interesting terrain, and often the chance to appreciate the physical heritage of our forebears. This month was no exception; we paused for a while to look at St Bartholomew’s Wanborough’s, a 12th century church restored in 1862 from having been a farm building, proudly noted as mentioned in the Domesday Book.(Wanborough was worth £7 in 1085.)

But just as important to the success and enjoyment of the walks is the chance to be out and about with convivial people who rapidly become friends, who share in the delights of the walk and joke about the awkward stiles or the unexpected muddy patch. On a glorious September morning, with only three easy stiles and no mud to speak of, conversation sparkled and good fellowship reached its culmination over the excellent lunch which was our reward at the end.

walk For more information on the St Paul’s Walking Group, see Walking Back To Happiness. A list of all our events at St Paul’s, including scheduled walks, is available here. If you’re interested in coming along to a walk, we would love to hear from you.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Curate Conquers Iron Man

photo 5 The ‘iron man’; a gruelling, excruciating , agonising triathlon, evidently a hobby for fit people. Why on earth would anyone want to do it? I mean, do people really do this for fun? With my journalistic hat on I decided to investigate this matter further and lo and behold our very own 28 year old curate Graham has actually conquered the iron man. Now Graham seems to be relatively normal; quietly spoken, unassuming, a friendly chap you could comfortably chat with in the pub but the iron man? Why? I decided to ask him.

Graham “It is the amazing sense of achievement that does it for me. Really pushing my body to the limit. I have done a few triathlons before but nothing like the iron man. It is completely bonkers but amazing!”

Nikki “So remind me, what distances did you do?”

photo 1 Graham “We start with a 2.4 mile swim, followed by 112 mile bike ride then the marathon (26 miles)”

Nikki “Swimming in a pool? Followed by nice leisurely bike ride? I guess you could walk the marathon? No?” (Graham shaking head)

Graham “No, this is a serious challenge. The triathlon took place in Bolton so we started with the swim in the lake at Pennington Flash Country park. The bike ride was a bit hilly with 2183m climbing and the marathon was not exactly level ground. The rules say you have to complete the triathlon within 17 hours and you are not allowed to have a break between each event so no one can afford to hang around.”

Nikki “I guess you had to train quite hard then?”

Graham “Well you have to be fit. For the few months before the triathlon I had been doing long cycles from Camberley to Oxford and Southampton, swimming in Mychett Lake early on Thursday mornings and running to the ‘Look Out’ and back to Barossa.

photo 4 Nikki “Wow! I am just exhausted hearing about it! How did you get through it, I mean what goes through your head when doing something like this?”

Graham “Well for a start I had told so many people I was doing this I didn’t want to have to tell them I hadn’t finished it and I also knew if I didn’t finish I would keep entering until I did! Giving up was not an option! I kept thinking that the pain I was putting myself through was nothing compared to the pain Jesus went through on the cross for me. I could have stopped at any time. So could Jesus; he could have got off the cross any time he wanted but he chose not to because of his love for us.”

Nikki “Gosh we often forget that Jesus did actually have a choice. So, would you do it again?”

Graham (laughs) “Well I am not planning anything at the moment and I am still recovering from the last one!! Perhaps I could be tempted to do a flatter course as Bolton is very hilly, then I could get a better time.”

Nikki “What was your finish time?”photo 3

Graham “12 hours 48 minutes.”

Nikki “I am no expert but that sounds pretty good”

Graham “It is not bad! It was a real high for me when I realised I was going to complete the marathon in under 4 hours!”

Nikki “Graham, I think you used the word “bonkers” earlier and I have to say that word keeps coming back to me but you have my full admiration! Thank you so much for talking to us about this amazing achievement of yours.”

So, bonkers or blooming marvellous? Possibly a bit of both but certainly something you can be proud of. If you would like to find out more about iron man you can check out their website Well after that inspirational interview I am off for a run now. What’s that? Cup of tea and mars bar? Oh ok then, if you insist. Ill take that run tomorrow.

Alpha_Logo_RGB Graham helps run the Alpha Course at St Paul’s. This is where anyone who has questions about faith can come along.  Camberley Alpha course begins 21st September at the RSVP and continues for the following 10 weeks. Each week starts at 7:20pm with drinks, followed by a meal at 7:30, a talk and then group discussion ending at 9:30pm. You are invited to come along, alone or with friends. For more information contact Graham Shaw:

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Cambridge to Camberley via China – New Youth Director

china I caught up with Sarah Percival during her first week as the new Youth Director at St Paul’s. We chatted about her background, plans she has, and why she took on the role. What instantly strikes you is how enthusiastic and professional she is, and I’m sure this role is something she will flourish in.

Video Interview with Sarah Percival


Tell me more about your gap year. What experiences did you take away from that?

“So I spent the year working with Youth For Christ in Swindon. I spent a lot of time working in the local secondary schools, doing lessons, assemblies and lunch clubs. The rest of my time was spent either running youth clubs and youth events or working with my church there to help them run their youth work. It was such a great year. I had the chance to work with an amazing team of experienced youth workers and to get to know LOADS of fantastic young people, from all walks of life. Swindon is a really varied town with some really middle class areas and others that are really deprived. But what came through everywhere was that young people are people no matter what their social background. They’re all fun, they all have pressures and questions and they all have so many talents and so much they could be doing with their lives. Having come from a fairly sheltered, middle class existence, my eyes were opened to what the rest of the world is actually like and to the fact that even though I came from a totally different background to many of these young people we were essentially the same and could still get on. And we both need God in our lives just the same amount! There’s SO much that God is doing in this country, in the middle class areas, in the council estates, in the schools and in the churches, it was an amazing opportunity to be able to be involved in it all as a full time volunteer for a year. I learnt that spending your life serving what God is doing – whether that’s in your office, your church, your school, your university or anywhere - it is just the most rewarding thing that you can do.”


image licensed under creative commonsWhy did you choose a career in youth work?
“I wish I could explain how I got here. And I wish I could explain why I love working with young people. It would make it much easier to explain to people why I’m doing what I’m doing. All I can say is that it’s God’s idea! I went into my last year of university completely confused about what I wanted to do with my life, but through a whole lot of praying God led me to the conclusion that he wanted me to work with young people. It really gets to me the amount of pressure put on young people from all angles, and the way in which I saw many of my contemporaries drop away from the Church. God is the only answer to ALL the problems face by young people today – he’s the only one who can give them true identity, who can offer true fulfilment and who can give them the strength not to conform to all the things the world is telling them. I couldn’t just go into a comfortable job in the city and stand by and watch society push and break so many young people – I wanted to get stuck in, for God to use me in whatever way to make some kind of difference. I wasn’t sure exactly what that would look like, but after more prayer, I ended up here at St Paul’s! So yeah... I can’t explain why on earth it gets to me so much, or how I ended up caring about young people, I just do. I blame God!”

How do you feel in your new role? 2006_0325ApprenticeSermon0082

“It’s been a big life change arriving here two days after graduation. And that was pretty daunting. But now I’m here and in the thick of it all I am so excited. I still can’t quite believe God is letting me to do this for a job. It’s a big job and a big responsibility, but I know that wherever I can’t manage, God is bigger than me! Plus, everyone in the Church has been so friendly and welcoming – it’s a lovely place to work and worship!”


2010_0901SarahPercival0018 Sarah comes from a strong Christian family. Her parents help run Anglican Marriage Encounter, and one of her two brothers is currently training to be a vicar. Brought up in Sandhurst, she attended Yateley Manor School. At secondary school she studied gold medal lamda acting, and obtained a Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. Then onto Cambridge University, where she studied a Degree in Theology & Religious Studies, focusing on New Testament Studies and Church History. She took a gap year to do full time youth work in Swindon, as part of the YFC gap year programme. Last summer Sarah spent 9 weeks teaching English in China and talking about Jesus.Youth Director at St Paul’s is her first position since graduating.


What would you like to achieve?

“Wow, big question! My prayer is that God will use me how he wants here at St Pauls – whatever that might look like. Ultimately, I would love to see all the St Paul’s young people absolutely sure of God’s love for them, and sold out for him so that they go out to change the world and to tell people about God and his love. God is amazing, I just want to help other people to see that! We’ll just have to wait and see what God has in mind though!”


A Frame St Paul’s run the following youth groups, and everyone is welcome, regardless of faith.

  • Freezone – youth club for year 6-8. Thursday & Friday evenings
  • Rock – youth club for year 9+. Thursday & Friday evenings
  • Youth Cells - Sunday discipleship programme for young people
  • Youth Alpha – introduction to the Christian faith for young people

For more information on youth work at St Paul’s, Sarah may be contacted at or telephone 01276 700210.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Services & Young Children in All Age Engagement


All Age Engagement is a specific time when we worship together in church, rather than children attending their own groups. This is often a difficult time for parents, in judging what they believe is acceptable, and what is actually expected.

Nikki had a conversation with some of St Paul’s leaders and members about All Age Engagement.

  • Mark Chester is the vicar at St Paul’s. He has 2 grown up sons
  • Becca has 2 young children
  • Daniel has 4 children

In their 30 minute chat, they discuss openly and frankly, what has and has not worked for them in parenting their young children through a service, sharing their experiences. They give encouraging advice, and tips on how to do more than survive a service, but actually make it a fulfilling and engaging time for children. St Paul’s is here to support you, is a key message.

Here is an introduction to the interview from Mark…

2005_0325Miisc0028 “All age engagement is something that we take seriously in the Sunday services at St Paul’s.  I believe that keys to making all age engagement more of a reality are similar expectations being shared, or at least understood, by ALL members of the church and practical suggestions about implementing these expectations.  This recording has been made in an attempt to achieve these aims in a non-threatening and accessible format.
This is our first attempt at anything like this so your comments, both positive and negative would be appreciated.
You might also find it interesting to buy or borrow from the church a copy of ‘Parenting in the Pew’ by Robbie Castleman.  A book that is both stimulating and thought provoking.”

Here is the interview for you to listen to …

Now we would like to hear your response to the interview, including your experiences with children in services, and your advice.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Selborne and Noar Hill – The Walk Goes On

IMG00058-20100821-1107 The St Paul’s Walkers were out on Saturday 21 August, on an 8 mile ramble in the countryside of naturalist Gilbert White. Much of the best landscapes in eastern Hampshire are around Selborne and Noar Hill. Plenty of ups and downs and too many stiles to count! We had light rain for some of our walk but nothing to dampen our spirits.


The Route – Selborne & Noar Hill

IMG00054-20100821-1014The route ascended the famous zigzag up Selborne Hill and onto Selborne Common, then down through grassy fields and up again to Noar Hill. Down once more through woodland clinging to a steep escarpment, across another field and stream and a stop for coffee next to logging woods.

Then upwards again through very tempting apple orchards, down to  a lake and up a valley with a steep climb at the far end to another orchard. The final mile of relatively flat walking back into Selborne heralded good views of the hills we had climbed earlier in the day.

 © Copyright Barry Shimmon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The Queens Hotel was very welcoming but disorganised as our hosts had only taken over a few days before! However, the food was very good. 




For more information on the St Paul’s Walking Group, see Walking Back To Happiness. A list of all our events at St Paul’s, including scheduled walks, is available here. If you’re interested in coming along to a walk, we would love to hear from you.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Drunk on New Wine

Every year in July thousands of people drive into the Mendip Hills of Somerset and pitch their tents, caravans and mobile homes in the Royal Bath and West Showground. The usual rain, mud and cold does nothing to dampen the warm welcome and excitement in the air. A happy gathering place for people of all ages and backgrounds come to enjoy inspiring teaching, heart-filled worship and good old plain fun, yes FUN. The annual New Wine Summer Conference begins.

Kids have an amazing time in their groups, sometimes praying, sometimes singing, sometimes listening, lots of times gunging and playing games. New friendships are made and parents are relaxed knowing their kids are in good hands. Children with special needs are welcomed  with open arms and they are included in all the children’s programmes.2010_0730NewWine100005

The youth discover God in the “toasty corner”(I believe this is where they make toast!), the tuck shop, the wii challenge, the basket ball matches as well as in worshiping through live Christian bands and taking part in prayer and ministry.  

At the end of each day filled with as much or as little teaching and worship you want, you can relax listening to live music, stand up comedy, shop at the market place, hang out with friends at the over 18’s bar, take part in speed dating, pub quizzes or just dance the night away.

Sound too good to be true? Well it is not just me who is drunk on New Wine:

“We have been going to new wine for 6 years and every year we live under canvas for a week. Not ideal as I am no camper but we go with St Paul’s and the fellowship and friendship far outweighs the discomforts of sharing grassy showers and muddy toilets. Also packing a few bottles of wine never hurts. DSC00038 Our children love going, meeting their friends and enjoying their independence and my teenage sons have now started to help out with the kid’s clubs. Geoff and I enjoy going to seminars (though I have been known to attend zero) and the morning and evening worship is pretty special. There is something awesome about worshiping together with thousands of people.” Anne

“New Wine is a great experience and a real holiday for our family. The children have so much freedom and come and go to their daytime and evening groups as they wish. Every day the children left for their groups full of eagerness and excitement whilst my wife and I were able to spend time together catching up with each other and resting. We also attended some interesting seminars such as ‘how to live a significant life’ and ‘parenting teenagers’. We will be going back for sure. “ Richard

“For me New Wine is a special time of year. Not just because it is an amazing place to worship God but it is also a time I mDSC00004eet up with friends I don’t see very often. Some years when the rain threatens to penetrate my tent I long for my warm bed and am tempted to run to the train station but there is something about New Wine that keeps pulling you back. For me, I think it is the community spirit. I wake every morning to a cheery “hello” despite my sleep deprived grunts and there is never a short supply of food and drink. Just the other morning I woke up to a big jug of fresh coffee that someone had made and left before hurrying off to the early morning 7.15am worship and most days I would be invited to eat dinosaur portions in someone else’s caravan or tent. This year I worked in Pebbles, the kids club for aged 3-4 year olds. Wow! exhausting but really rewarding.” Matt  DSC00002

  So, just a few comments from other New Wine buffs and it seems that once tried, the taste for New Wine seldom leaves you. In fact I would go as far to say it grows and matures and leaves a wonderful refreshing, spiritual flavour in your life.