Here are a selection of stories from members of our community as to why they have chosen St John’s as their church.
Elaine’s story: I’ve been coming to St. Johns since 1989, when as a young mum with two children under three we moved to Fareham, and I was looking for a church that would be welcoming and had lots of things happening. Although I was a member of the Methodist Church, I was made to feel so welcome and soon became involved in a young mums study group, a house group and playing guitar in the music group. Over the years my children (now 3 of them!) have grown up, and things have changed within the church, but the St. John’s Family is still just as welcoming. I love the variety of services we have, and the encouragement the church gives to young adults and families. Through outreach like Messy church, and ‘Open The Book’ I enjoy sharing my faith with today’s young families and children.
Kat’s story: We wanted to find a church to get our daughter christened; there was cake so we stayed!
Val’s story: Me, my husband Derek and our children attended St. John’s in 1981 for a while but we were called to another church to help them as they were starting out. In 2001 I started going again to St. John’s as it was a local church and the services fitted in with my nursing hours. My husband joined the music group and later I have helped with home communion. We have made many friends there over the years, although there have been ‘ups and downs’ in our life God has always been constant and faithful.
Sue’s story: Although I was sent to Sunday School as a child it was not until I was 15, that I suddenly realised that I wanted to be a Christian. I got married and my husband and I moved around and on each move I attended a new church. We moved to Fareham and whilst on cub camp peeling potatoes I got chatting to a lady from another local church who suggested we try St. John’s; 15 years later we are still here! Our children have now grown up and we are blessed with six grandchildren – Bailey, Ethan, Jacob, Dexter, Milo and Sienna-Rae who keep us very busy. My husband Colin and I have really appreciated St. John’s and the fellowship and friends we have found here plus knowing that the children are accepted. House group has been really important and we have enjoyed helping with PCC, sound systems, being treasurer and many more things!
Joy’s story (aged 5): I like Messy Church and ‘Normal Church’ because they’ve both got biscuits. I like Messy Church as well because it had space for me and Skye to run about. I like ‘Normal Church’ because sometimes Mummy can spend time with us. I love J-Club because sometimes I get to play games.
Amy’s story: I came to St. Johns through an Alpha Course that was held at Brian and Hilary’s house about 14 years ago. I remember feeling anxious when I walked into church for the first time but I was immediately made to feel welcome and was invited to sit with some of the people I’d met on the course the week before. My life was pretty chaotic at that point but St. John’s accepted me as I was. Through the gentle loving of the congregation at St. John’s, God continued to mould and shape me and I grew in faith. When my first marriage broke down in 2003, St. John’s was there to support me and my two small children. In 2004, with the support of the church, I started a house group in my flat and it was through this group that I met my husband Mark. We were married at St. John’s in 2007 surrounded by our church family. St. Johns has loved me, accepted me and given me opportunities to learn and grow in faith. In 2012 I began training for Ordination and in July 2015 my family and I will begin the next part of our journey in another church. We will be very sad to leave St. John’s but I guess we are a testament to St. John’s doing what churches are supposed to do; disciple, build up and send out.
Teddy’s story (aged 2.5): I like to have a ring biscuit. I like the Wiggly [worship] song. I like playing the drums and singing with Mummy.
Laura’s story: I grew up in Fareham and attended Holy Trinity church with my family. In 2008 I left Fareham to go to University in Bristol and when I came back in 2011 wanted a join a new church. I visited St John’s and instantly felt at home. Soon after, I joined a house group and the music band. I was working as a primary school teacher at the time and the church was a huge source of support in what is a very stressful career! In January 2014 I felt God’s call away from teaching. I had been feeling that perhaps teaching wasn’t right for me for a little while and so I turned down a job offer for a permanent contract at the school I was working knowing that God had something else lined up for me. In June 2014 I applied for, and gained a place on the “Discovery Programme” run by Portsmouth Diocese. I will be starting my year out working in the parish of Alverstoke in September. I know that without the support and prayers of my house group and the family of St John’s, I would not have made the decision to leave teaching and follow God’s call. St John’s has been a huge part of my life, supporting and encouraging me in leading children’s work, singing in the worship band and even leading services! They have brought my back to life after going through some tough times in recent years and I am very sad to be saying goodbye.
Dave’s story: In 1996 I was quite happy with my life, work and home life and I didn’t feel I ‘needed’ God. One day I received a call from my daughter who told me my beloved dog was very ill and she had to make a decision about saving him. Even though I wasn’t a Christian, I prayed to God and promised if He saved the dog I would attend church. My prayers were answered. I attended my daughter’s church that week but felt no need to continue attending. Some while later, I had tragic news from my family, again I felt the need to pray to God as He’d answered my prayer before. Despite the original outlook having been very bleak, God saved my family member, so I went St. John’s to pay the new ‘debt’ with still no intension of becoming a regular. Towards the end of my 4 weeks ‘debt’ I was asked if I would like to attend an Alpha Course; I thought what better way to prove to myself that I did not need church. It was a 10 week course and I managed to keep out of trouble for about 8 weeks, then I realised that I found the argument for Jesus having been the Son of God to be very convincing. From there it was difficult not to believe in God if you believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Since then I have been a regular member of the congregation at St. John’s. Becoming a Christian is a life changing experience and I found that, despite my fears, life was even better as a Christian, although I did feel that God had ‘set me up’!
Charlie’s story: I moved to Fareham ten years ago and found it a bit hard to know how to make friends. Having grown up going to church, I decided to look around the area and see if I could find a church where I might ‘fit in’ and where I might be able to make some friends. As soon as I walked into St John’s, I knew that I’d found a place where I didn’t need to ‘fit in’ as such, as they accepted me as I was and welcomed me with open arms. I was invited to join a House Group and so I went along and have pretty much been going ever since. For me, St John’s has not only provided me with friends, but it has changed my life. I’m so much happier in life now and I have built up a really real and different relationship with God as I’ve grown to know more about God and the Bible through the House Group and church services and discussions. Life hasn’t always been easy and the St John’s community has really been there for me both in the good times and the tougher times and I really can’t say how much I appreciate it. A church isn’t just a building, it’s the people in it and going to St John’s has really taught me this. All are welcomed here, no matter who you are or what your past is.
Anna’s story: I chose St. John’s due to the friendly welcome I received, the accessible teaching and of course the amazing fellowship of the house group I joined.