IT IS an odd recipe for
bringing people to church, but it certainly seems to work at St
Jude's, Southsea, in Portsmouth diocese, where
attendance has rocketed by 45 per cent. Every two months, they hold
a Funday Sunday, when the congregation invites friends to church
for breakfast and children's games, followed by a "snappy family
The breakfast includes
coffee and bacon sandwiches, and a chance to catch up with the
Sunday papers. Children can have their faces painted, or their
nails varnished, or they can play Wii games and table football.
They then enjoy comedy sketches and messy games, such as eating
cold spinach before standing in baked beans (pictured),
followed by lively songs during a quickfire 45-minute presentation
about some aspect of Christianity.
The usual 200-strong
congregation can swell to 350 on these Funday Sundays, which are
designed to appeal to those who do not usually come to church; but
they have also increased the regular congregation at all the
morning services by ten per cent.
Recent Fundays have included
bringing a real sheep into church to illustrate the par- able of
the Lost Sheep, dressing as Pompey football fans to show the
commitment needed to follow Jesus, and the whole con- gregation's
re-enacting the story of Jesus calming the storm. Regular
worshippers are given cards to invite their friends and neighbours
to these occasions, described as "church for those who don't do
The Vicar of St Jude's, the Revd Michael Duff, says: "This is
part of the vision we had to open up what we do at St Jude's to
those who wouldn't normally come. . . Each time, I see dozens of
new faces, and we hear how much people have enjoyed their time with
us. Some have chosen to join our regular services, our Alpha
courses, or our midweek groups."