St John’s Church Midsomer Norton packed to overflowing for United Midsomer Norton Deanery Eucharist
In an age when church attendance is said to be in decline it was uplifting to witness a church packed to overflowing as the nineteen churches that make up the Midsomer Norton Deanery, came together on Sunday 28th July, in the presence of the Bishop of Taunton, The Rt Rev’d Ruth Worsley, to share worship together. Even the largest church in the Deanery, St John’s, Midsomer Norton, was not big enough to accommodate the two hundred and thirty plus congregation. But thanks to modern technology the service was relayed by close circuit TV to the church hall next door, in order that everyone could be part of this act of united witness.
The Rev’d Matthew Street, Vicar of Peasedown and Area Dean compiled the service from the Anglican Eucharistic Rite to accommodate the various traditions of the local churches, though sadly couldn’t attend as he is still recovering from a recent serious illness. Prayers were offered for his speedy return to full health.
Fr. Christopher Chiplin, Vicar of St John’s led the service and presided at the communion, The Rev’d Clarissa Cridland, Vicar of Coleford. acted as Deacon and Lucy Barnes, the Lay Dean read the lesson. Twenty-one year old Jasmine Ferris, a member and server at St John’s MSN acted as Bishop’s Chaplain. Bishop Ruth preached a very warm sermon during which she invited the congregation to have a brief discussion with someone they didn’t know about an experience of prayer. The church buzzed eagerly.
During the intercessions a miners lamp was lit and brought forward by a member of each church as prayers were said for their community.
This is the second time all the churches of the Deanery have come together for a Sunday Communion Service and it was mind-blowing to see so many Christians and friends share their faith and be part of such an uplifting, rousing and encouraging act of worship. With Geoff Miles on the organ and St John’s church choir supported by the Deanery choir and musicians the singing nearly did raise the roof.
After the service the united congregations gathered in the church hall where they were delighted to meet and chat with Bishop Ruth and share coffee, conversation and fellowship with each other, very much looking forward to repeating the experience in the future.