Prayer and Study Groups
There are a number of adult prayer and study groups which meet either regularly or for a short series. They are varied and include prayers and studying the Bible. Prayers are offered for those known to need help and support. A recent Lent Group was focussed on everyday life and discussed topics ranging from sexuality to war and poverty. Each meeting began with a simple supper, a talk and then members broke off into smaller groups to continue the debate before re-forming for a final talk. Attendance averaged 40 and there was a very positive response to an audit carried out a few weeks later. See picture
The church choir supports the congregation regularly, though not every week, at Parish Communion services. In addition to the hymns, it sings at least one anthem, usually during the administration of Holy Communion, and sometimes an introit. The choir also leads the singing in the traditional Carol Service and takes part in many special services throughout the year. Find out more on the page The choir.
St James's Players
This instrumental ensemble leads the music during the All-age Services, accompanying the hymns and playing processional music at the end. If there is Communion it will also accompany the sung parts of this service and will play reflective music during the administration of Communion. It has supported the music in some special services, such as the Carol Services and Confirmations. Find out more on the page St James’s Players.
Faith at Work
The format is simple: a member of the congregation talks to the group about their occupation and the part Christianity plays in their everyday lives. The discussion is opened up to the group. The talks take place on selected Saturday mornings throughout the year. The group is run by Canon Julian Reindorp, a retired Team Rector. The talks are attended by about 12 people. This event has been particularly successful in attracting newcomers to discuss their faith.
St James's Theatre Club
An outing of some sort is organised roughly once a month and the aim is to get people together to have some fun during the week. Right from the start it was a great success, with the response being very positive. Now that it is a regular fixture in St James’s social diary, people look forward to an evening out with old or newly acquired friends and are always in excellent spirits. If you’re interested in joining them, please see the notice board at the back of the church or contact Peter Hale on 020 979 9287. If you need a lift to the theatre, this is no problem as there are a number of people willing to drive. Everyone is welcome!
Whilst the theatre itself gives great pleasure, St James's Theatre Club is about other things too. It can bring people into contact with one another for the first time: "I hadn't realised she was so interesting", said one about another! It also allows people to go out during the evening in a safe environment when they may not otherwise have done so: "It's ages since I've been to the theatre but it's so nice to have the company of so many friendly people." And it also allows people to help others: "I'd drive to Richmond anyway, so it's no trouble for me to pick you up and drop you off at the end of the evening."
St James’s Film Club
Going to the cinema has suddenly become a lot more local. St James’s has launched its own film club, making full use of the big screen and wonderful sound system. The idea came from PCC member Josh Webb, and his family have now joined forces to offer the full experience, which includes sales of popcorn, drinks and snacks. There are cushions for hire if the pews prove too uncomfortable! To start, there will be one film night a month, and the first two were "The Sound of Music" and "It’s A Wonderful Life".
St James's Ark
The Ark is a playgroup for carers and under-fives, which is Christian based and non-educational. It takes place in church on Monday mornings during term time from 10.15 - 12.15. There is a large regular clientele, some occasional visitors and new people are always welcome. £2 per family is charged with about 25 children (30 max) usually attending per week. Find out more on the page St James's Ark.
The Shell Seekers Sunday School
This is a lively, caring group for children aged four upwards, run by a range of adults from the church. The name is inspired by the shell that represents our church's patron saint, St James, and the fact that we are all seeking to further our knowledge of God and his love for us. The children meet during term time from 09.25 in the church hall. They later join with the rest of the congregation in the church, in receiving a blessing or communion and singing the last hymn. This way they are included in the church service itself and feel part of it. At the end of the service they tell the congregation what they have been learning during their session. They broadly learn about the same subjects as are being discussed in church. They also explore the churchyard, learning about the fauna and flora, and several times a year they make food and craft items which they sell to raise money for a chosen charity. Find out more on the page Shell Seekers.
Although the uniformed groups are not strictly Church organisations, being 'open groups', they nevertheless sometimes attend the church parade All Age services. They carry their flags in a colourful parade through the church and sometimes read lessons, say prayers, assist with Parish Breakfast and so on during the Services.
Contact Girlguiding.org.uk, 08001695901, for the Brownies and Guides and contact email@example.com, 020 8286 6918, for the Scouts.
Groups through the years