Diocese of Portsmouth

Breakfast Church, Emsworth

MANY Fresh Expressions involve people eating some kind of food - as a shared meal is often a good basis for creating a community.

That’s certainly the case at St James Church, Emsworth, where a monthly Breakfast Church has been running for a number of years. Offering newcomers free bacon sandwiches is also a way of showing newcomers generous hospitality.

Around 80 people regularly attend Breakfast Church, which happens from 10am on the second Sunday of each month, in St James’ church hall.

Bacon butties, toast and great coffee are all available, and families sit around tables in a cafe church-style format.

There’s a worship band who will lead some lively songs, which anyone can join in. And then there’s a short, all-age talk which leads on to questions for discussion at each table. For some of the time, there are some interactive activities for smaller children in another room.

The rector, the Rev Andrew Sheard, said: “Breakfast Church is going from strength to strength. The age range is from zero to those over 90, so it is genuinely inter-generational.

“We do get some regulars who don’t go to any other service, so it is reaching out to those who are otherwise unchurched. Some of those who attend also come to more traditional church services on other Sundays too.”

Breakfast Church started just over four years ago. It’s now led by the parish’s new pioneer minister Jo Northey, who aims to attract more families to attend.

Like other Fresh Expressions, there is no expectation that those who attend will ‘graduate’ to other services - this is their worship.