St. John’s with St. Mary’s has in its parish, a large council estate of over 13000 people with 4 Primary Schools, and St. Mary’s was built to serve this community. Our vision is to continue to do this and share the good news of what Jesus has done for us with the people there. We do this in a variety of ways.
Free To Be
Free To Be was started in 2010, with the help of Ladybrook Enterprises (a local community charity who provided us with a venue), for people of age 50+ who are in need of company, friendship and sometimes a listening ear. We started with 3 people and now have around 40 people who either come regularly or now and then. Some weeks we just chat and some weeks we have an activity or speaker, but whichever, we aim to provide friendship and fun with a cuppa. We are up front about being Christians but don’t overtly push it at these meetings although it’s amazing how many conversations we have about God. Free To Be meets every Wednesday in term time at the William Kaye Hall between 9.30 and 11.30am and is open to everyone aged 50+. If you want to come along as a member, come and help or support us in prayer you would be very welcome.
The afternoon tea came out of speaking to Free To Be members who said they often find Sunday afternoons a lonely time. Three times a year we have an afternoon tea in St. Mary’s on a Sunday afternoon, starting with a very informal service. Again, our aim is to provide company and friendship, as well as a chance to meet with God. If you would like to come along or come and help, then please look out for the dates and contact the office.
Once a month on a Monday afternoon after school, we run Ladybrook Lighthouse. This is very like Messy Church but without the food! It is aimed at families and children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. We do craft and board games and then have a time together when we sing, play a game, have a story and learn about God together in a fun way. Families are very welcome to join us or extra helpers – contact the church office for dates.
Light Bite is a new venture which is a cross between Lighthouse, the afternoon tea and café church. It is very informal and is aimed at all ages and at building community. We aim to be relaxed, learn about God together and to eat together. So far, we have had one successful Light Bite in 2018 and so aim to introduce it in 2019 once a month on a Sunday afternoon. Everyone is welcome. Please contact the office in 2019 for dates and times.
We have 4 Primary Schools in our parish: Flying High Academy, Intake Farm Primary, Redgate Academy and Wainwright Primary Academy. We have good relationships with all these schools and our community worker does assemblies in each of them twice a term. We also provide other seasonal or curriculum-based visits and workshops, including Harvest, Church and Christmas (which includes mini Christingle events for Yrs 1 & 2) and Easter. At Christmas and Easter we do big workshops up at St. Mary’s for every Yr 3 class with 12 volunteers per day and including dressing up – us as well as them, craft and of course the Christmas and Easter message. In 2019 we also hope to do a Lent activity and a mini pilgrimage with one school. Queen Elizabeth’s Academy is also a church secondary school in out parish and we support them in prayer
Help is always needed for the workshops and there is also a group which prays for all the schools’ work. If you would like to be involved then please contact Chris Frith via the office.
At Christmas and Easter we take cakes round the businesses and to the staff in schools to say thank you for their work in our community – any donations of cakes are very welcome.
At Christmas we try to do Posada if we have enough manpower. This is a Mexican tradition whereby some figures of Mary and Joseph travel round the estate throughout December calling at schools, the Library, the William Kaye hall, shops, pubs etc for at least 24 hours per place until finally they arrive at St. Mary’s on Christmas Eve for the Crib Service with the donkey (yes a real one!). It’s a way of advertising the Crib service but also reminding people that Christmas is about Jesus.
At Christmas there is usually “Beer and Carols” in The Ladybrook pub – look out for the dates.
We try to support the community fairs in the square at Christmas and in the summer as well as those at the William Kaye hall. We also sing carols in the Square at Christmas and give out sweets and mince pies. At Easter we hand out hot cross buns.
A small group regularly meets to pray for the community and the church at St. Mary’s at the beginning of the day for half an hour at 8.15am on a Monday (enter by the vestry door at the back by the fence). Anyone wishing to join us would be very welcome.
God is in community – one God in 3 persons. We believe He wants good wholesome community in Ladybrook and He also wants more of those people to become part of His eternal Kingdom community. If you want to be part of creating that community then come and join us.