Fair Oak’s ‘Church without walls’ bucks trend

Piazza on the Square

Piazza on the Square complete with Olympic torch

While many churches are experiencing falling attendances,  Fair Oak’s Parish Church of St Thomas is bucking the trend.

With 425 members and growing, St Thomas’ clearly has something many churches do not. Associate Minister Jono Harvey, is taking St Thomas’ out to the people  to “Celebrate 2012”  – a campaign inspired by the extraordinary events in Britain this year.

For the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, St Thomas’ organized a street party in Fair Oak Square which drew 1,000 people.

For the Olympics, the “Love Fair Oak” campaign has been running every day. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., a team of ten Church volunteers have been minding the marquee. But there’s no Bible bashing. This is a chance for local people to interact with the Church in a way they otherwise might not get.

Despite occasional rain, mothers and children can enjoy the festival
atmosphere underneath the canopy while three large TVs courtesy of PC World
show live events. Local shops provide back up and the whole campaign is
benefitting Fair Oak.

An Olympic torch carried by Church member Michael Bevis-Lacey on the Bognor Regis route has been attracting young and old alike. Michael was nominated to carry the torch by friends and family.

Michael – a former pupil of Kings School – told Eastleigh News:

“I won’t sell it. I’ll probably loan it to the Museum. At the moment  schools are booking me for talks, so I need it.”

One volunteer told Eastleigh News about “ARK”, one of the ways in which St Thomas is helping the local community. Organized by volunteers from the churches of Eastleigh, ARK is designed to help families in crisis.

When asked to sum up the St Thomas “on-street mission”, one of the  volunteers explained,

“This is not evangelism. People can come and visit  and they won’t have religion rammed down their throat. But if they want to  talk about Jesus then we’re happy to do that. This is about making the  Church accessible. You could say it is like a church without walls”.


  2 comments for “Fair Oak’s ‘Church without walls’ bucks trend

  1. Stephen Slominski
    August 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    With ‘425 members and growing’ St Thomas Church now has more local members than the Lib Dems according to Hedge End Blogger!

  2. Peter Stewart
    August 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    …and 350 more than Eastleigh Conservatives!

    p.s. Maybe Eastleigh Conservatives could learn a thing or two from St Thomas’ Church. Perhaps local Tories could go along and see how they do it.

Comments are closed.