Christ Church Turnham Green is now open 6/7 days a week and gets 800-1000 visits a week. About 25-30% of those will be at one of our services, and then there are cafe visitors, toddler group attenders, study groups, youth groups and sanctuary seekers. After Christmas each Monday night 16 men will sleep there too on the Shelter Project. We call this whole open church project ‘The Meeting Place’.
I’ve just come back from a children’s party. In a fairly typical conversation a Mum came over to me recognising me mentioning one of our afternoon drop in sessions. I no longer pretend to recognise half the people who come through the church building, but our Meeting Place Coordinator has a near photographic memory for faces. People get a warm welcome.
In the old vestry we have put a state of the art soft-play facility. The other vestry is a creche equipped with changing tables, and craft, and the entire sanctuary (save the chancel) is given over the community for various activities led and hosted by our wonderful staff and volunteer team. The lady I met today was typical in that The Meeting Place was the first place in Chiswick she had made friends since having kids in Chiswick.
Not only do people make friends but they also meet God on a daily basis in our team, some of the music, and in the invites back to Christmas service and even baptisms. Our week in church begins at 8pm on a Sunday night with the weekly Soak Prayer service. The building is saturated in prayer after a busy Sunday of outreach and worship, and rededicated back to God in praise, petition and prophesy.
People walk into a tangible spiritual atmosphere the next morning. They will have queued round the block to make it into our Monday Sunbeams session for pre-schoolers. It’s noisy chaos, and oversubscribed, but God meets people through this and the smaller activities that follow through the week.
As the Mum at the party said to me today
“It’s changed my mind about organised religion… it really helps people and serves them”
More details: christchurchw4.com/children