A sporty vicar is offering budding table tennis stars from the local school the opportunity to improve their game in a new after school club with a bit of a God spin.
The Revd Greg Cushing, St John the Baptist church, plays table tennis every Tuesday of term time in a club appropriately called ‘Revved up table tennis’. The club is held at Loxwood church room from 4-5 and includes both singles and doubles matches, neither of which Greg lets the children win. Halfway through the session a brief talk is given on the Bible, currently looking at Jesus’ table tennis ability.
Revd Greg said: “We give three minutes from the Bible about 'why Jesus would be the best table tennis player ever?' Last time we learned that one won't win many points in table tennis unless one can serve and Jesus had a lot to show and teach about serving others.”
The sporting initiative follows a realisation from the parish that there was a need to reach out more effectively to the young and grow their children’s ministry, reflecting the new Transforming Church, Transforming Lives vision. To address this, the church is growing connections with local schools and is looking to offer children the opportunity to have fun and establish a connection with the church.
In addition to the after school club, to avoid clashes with other Sunday commitments, a new informal 4pm family service has been launched to a great reception, with around 90 people attending, and no small amount of cake.
The parish have also started a new bible study group and recently revamped their website to improve their communication with the local community, and have already welcomed their first attendees as a result. The modern and up-to-date website made the church seem nice, welcoming and busy to the visitors, leading them to attend their first service at the church.
Revd Greg said: "I long that our parish becomes known as a parish that loves God’s word, takes its teaching seriously and is a place where children of all ages feel catered for, where church isn’t a chore but a joy."