St Matthew’s Chadderton

A year ago, it was suggested that there was a need for a midweek service so that parents and their children could come to church at a convenient time for them.   As a result of this, there is now a weekly service on Thursdays at 6.00pm.  It lasts for 45 minutes to an hour and alternates between a Service of the Word and Holy Communion.

Initially 2-3 people met to pray, read the Bible and to see what happened.  The aim was to let the people who came shape the service.  This grew to a congregation of up to 70, mainly children and mums, although some dads do come.   Those who came enjoyed a shorter, more relaxed service than they encountered on Sunday mornings.  It had been expected that this would have an impact on the Sunday morning congregation but they haven’t seen a drop in numbers.   Some families are present to gain school points but some come to both services and some adults come on their own.

A team of four are involved in the Thursday evening service: the Vicar, Curate, Reader and a lay person.  As the service evolves, the leaders are looking to develop the liturgy and to grow and develop the service.  There is now a monthly service on Friday afternoons after school along the lines of Messy Church.  This is slowly growing.

At the Eucharist, one of the new eucharistic prayers for use when children are present is used.  The children set up the table and gather around as the prayer is said and after communion they wash the vessels.  The children are enthusiastic about helping in this way.   The whole service is very interactive and helps people to feel engaged.

The building does create certain constraints in that there is limited space available at the front and around the altar for creating a stronger sense of gathering together to share in the eucharist or for storytelling  but future plans for reordering hope to address this.  There is also a sense that there is a need to create social time to allow the worshipping community to grow closer together.

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