On 4th June 2014 we started something new at All Saints – well, to be honest it was something old, something new, something borrowed and something we didn’t know would work.
Some of our young people had the vision for the church to be open all day, with different things happening at different times, finishing with tea together – and from that we got the name – “#together”.
Our Open Doors Coffee Morning which had been running for years over in the Community Centre agreed to move across to Church as part of the day, and with toast to start the day we embarked on the adventure.
That’s 5½ years ago and on Wednesday 12th February 2020 we hit an amazing milestone. For the first time in those 5½ years we saw over 100 different adults and children through the doors of All Saints. Some for toast, some for coffee, some for tea, some for our after school’s activities, some for meetings and some just to sit and pray.
So what is #Together now? Well. it happens during term time and as for what happens… here goes!
The day starts with “Fuel” – we have breakfast together – with the toast on as soon as the Tesco order arrives at Church. Fresh Coffee and Tea by the gallon and we sit and talk and share.
We share things we want to say thank you for, we share things we want to ask God for – healing, help, strength – for us and others.
Between 10am and 10:30am our Open Doors team arrives – some of our most faithful Church Family members and with a combined age of over 250 proving the point that you can serve WHATEVER age you are!
Tea, Coffee, Toast, or if you really want to push the boat out Fruit Toast with a slice of cheese. And then the chance to chat, share and find friendship and support. There is always someone on hand to listen, to care, to pray and to help.
The name of the Coffee Morning gave All Saints the first line of our vision statement – Doors that are open. And the everything they do show Hearts that Love and Faith that Shines!
12 – Noon
AS the clock reaches twelve we bring three candles to the middle of one of our big round tables and as we light them we pray. We worship, we reflect on a bible verse, we pray for the world, for the church, for our villages, for those who are sick or suffering and for ourselves.
We pray the Lord’s Prayer in word and sign language, and commit ourselves to God for the rest of the day.
We use simple written prayers (liturgy) to help us pray and we use our own words too.
At All Saints we believe that God hears and answers prayer – we’ve seen people healed in amazing ways – and we’ve had prayers that seemed to go unanswered too! But we have learned to trust Jesus and listen for his voice!
After we’ve finished praying we have “time”.
Time for lunch, time for meetings, time to prepare, time to tidy up, time to celebrate a birthday perhaps, time to talk, time for yet another coffee (it’s on ALL day), or time just to sit and be with God in the quietest part of the day.
Time is precious, and we try to spend it wisely – we don’t always manage that but we try!
It’s turned three o’clock and School’s Out and families arrive at All Saints to drink EVEN MORE Coffee and to have some fun.
We share, we dance, we exercise, we colour, we paint, we create, we play, we sing, we explore, we learn, we grow, we enjoy, we make friends, we sometimes fall out and we always try to sort it.
Once a month we have Messy Church where we use crafts and activities and songs to share a Bible Story, and learn what it might mean to be a friends and DiscipLes of Jesus.
It’s tea time. A hot meal, cake and yes, coffee (or tea) for everyone that wants it. Sometimes we have curry, sometimes roast sausages, sometimes Lasagne, or sometimes something our amazing kitchen team manage to rustle up. It people can afford it we ask for £1.50 a head to cover our costs, or £1 if that’s what they can afford. If someone can’t afford to pay they are always welcome – we don’t check what goes into the pots.
It can be a bit noisy, a bit messy, there is sometimes seconds, and sometimes we have to pray over the pie so there’s enough!!!!
Eating together is special – that’s why we do it. That’s why Jesus did it!
And we usually find time for a bedtime story too!
And whilst the last pots are being washed and the floor is being swept we pause again and pray, very similar to lunchtime, but this time we take a few extra minutes to look at the Bible together.
A chance to reflect on the day, to think and ponder and pray.
And there it is – #together.
Why not come and join in! You’re always welcome, and guess what?