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Family service at St Francis Bramley: “there’s a real demand for it”

We’re starting with a new family service once a month

The services are going to be once a month on the first Sunday at 4pm. We did a survey over Christmas of schools and families who came to things like the Christingle and Crib services, asking what day and time would suit them best. We realised Sunday mornings aren’t always the best times for families anymore, or even some existing church members. It turned out from the survey Saturday or Sunday afternoons were more suitable.

We wanted to listen to the local community

Before I started at Bramley, they used to have two services on a Sunday morning -a 9am more traditional service and then an 11am family service with children’s groups. We’ve now got one service but we don’t really have the capacity team wise to do children’s groups. Families have started coming and we knew we needed to provide for them.

We thought about changing the time of the service and then adding a family service in the morning, but from the survey, we realised that wasn’t ideal. I also remember from my time as Curate in Charge a slot on a Sunday at 4pm which I started called ‘Space to Be’ and obviously there was something about that time that was right. In the New Year we decided to reassess that service and look at what could replace it.

We want more families in church

I think there is a real need for it. There’s a demand for the service building on the back of all the school work we do. Even just over the last year we’ve had children in school telling me about Jesus and how excited they are to come to church. I thought, “if you’re excited to come to church then let’s build on that!”

This has come from the fact that people do want it, but if we haven’t got anything for them then we can’t invite them. We’re kind of doing all this groundwork and then there’s nothing to build on it. Hopefully this will give a platform and a space for families to come to. We’re starting small and then we’ll build up. We’re going to be praying to the Lord of the harvest to send the workers.

We’re feeling very positive about the future

I think everybody, even if the service isn’t particularly aimed at them, is excited something is going to be happening for families. I would say the majority of churches, when they are advertising, are striving for more families to come to church – hopefully that’s what will happen. It’s important for families to worship together, because if you just come to church and then the kids are kept separate and do the Jesus stuff elsewhere, you’re not learning together. I think that’s the best thing about church, isn’t it? The fact that you are a family growing up in church, learning to mix with all generations.

Helen and the team are working towards the six criteria of a New Congregation: worship (UP), fellowship (IN), outreach (OUT), reaching new people, raising new leaders and offering the sacraments.

If you want to find out more about starting new things generally, or a New Congregation in particular, contact