Sandwiched in a prime location on Hounslow High St across a square from Ann Summers and a dozen coffee shops, and with the Police Station right behind it this 1960s rebuild of an ancient friary church is a moving and amazing place to visit.
The homeless ministry housed in its basement overspills naturally into the life of the vibrant congregation resulting in unmistakable odours at the 9:30am prayer meeting that is otherwise the very fragrance of Christ.
Welcome comes from the well positioned flat screen TV above the entrance with a well produced advertisement slideshow, and in person by an active team of welcomes including newly baptised convert Aaron who efferveses about his new faith which was triggered by food banks and Alpha. Barbara then brings round a regularly refilled tray of tasty pastries and tells me of an outreach opportunity she had in her workplace when staff at our church in Turnham Green brought watermelon to her colleagues having a picnic lunch on the green. The literature, like the website, is compelling and clear.
The tone is set well before anyone else gets there by the hosting team to gather an hour a head of the service kickoff to pray, share words and prophesy. The service then has a soft start for 30 minutes when people simply gather and chat and engage with their neighbours. At 10:30 everything begins with a resounding hymn, at five minute slot for notices amusingly broken up by repeated microphone failure, before a children’s song which I found myself joining in with despite myself. Clapping, wriggling & dancing all taking place and I am enticed along despite outlawing cringey clapping at my gaff.
The worship set after the kids leave sees me on my knees and with tears in my eye after a well bended non-pretentious set of older and newish material. The vicar, Stu, shed a tear too during his prayers for ISIS.
I had to go shortly after as it was 50mins in before the word section started and I needed to get back home for 12.