Diocese of Portsmouth

    Total recall of church's 40-year history

    11 Oct. 2003

    DON Clark is one of a select few who can remember the entire history of his Fareham church.

    Not only has he been going to St John the Evangelist for its entire 40-year existence, but he was a member of the congregation that met in its church hall for 10 years before that.

    The church will mark its 40th anniversary this month with a weekend of activities, including an open day, an illustrated history and a thanksgiving service with Bishop Kenneth.

    The celebration weekend will start on November 27 and 28 with visits from local schools. Children will be able to see displays showing aspects of church life in photos and stories.

    A cheese and wine evening, which will feature a slideshow outlining the history of the church, will happen on November 28 at 7.30pm.

    It will be followed the next day by a free open day from 11am-4pm that will include floral and picture displays celebrating parish life over 40 years, music by jazz and church music groups, snacks and children’s activities.

    And on the Sunday morning at 10am, there will be a thanksgiving service, incorporating parts of the original dedication service and items from the 25th anniversary service. Bishop Kenneth will preach. That will be followed by a hog roast at lunchtime and an informal Songs of Praise-style service at 6.30pm.

    The parish was originally created out of the parish of Holy Trinity, Fareham, in 1963 under the patronage of the Church Pastoral Aid Society.

    Don, 82, Kathleen Linburn, 88, and Elsie Fisher, 79, are the only members of today’s congregation who can recall those days.

    “I remember CPAS had an old ‘circus church’ in Surrey Street in Portsmouth that was bombed during the war,” said Don. “They decided they would use the money from the sale of land to create another church outside the city. They picked on this place, part of the parish of Holy Trinity.

    “The congregation met in what is now our hall for 10 years. Some came from Holy Trinity, but others were from other denominations, because there wasn’t really another church in this area. In 1963 the new church was built, and St John’s became a separate parish with its own vicar.”