Serving communities with joy

Our churches are in many ways uniquely positioned to bring communities together. In many areas, they may be the only community building left which can offer a space for groups and amenities.

Many of our churches open their doors and their hearts to help strengthen relationships and communities, living out the vision of the Church of England in Devon to ‘serve with joy’. Some churches specific groups to help those who may be feeling isolated. Such as the community café in St John’s Bridgetown in Totnes, which opened in response to demand from the community for a space where people could come together, make new friends, and talk – right across the generations. It brings together people of all ages, from parents with young children, to those who are older.

Some of the other activities run by our churches across Devon to bring people together are listed below:

Games afternoons, St Augustine’s Church, Heanton Punchardon
Twice a month on Friday’s St Augustine’s Church, Heanton Punchardon, runs a Board Games Afternoon for people who are on their own or who would welcome company.

Tuesday Lunches in Wrafton
A monthly lunch is held on the second Tuesday of the month in the Church Hall in Wrafton.

‘Messy Church’, All Saints Church, Kenton
“’I may have four children, but I can still feel lonely for adult company. Messy Church is great for that – I get to meet new people, too.” Held on the second Thursday of each month from 3.30pm-6pm.

All Saints’ Kenton, Reflections Cafe runs a dementia friendly café for anyone in the village once a month including arts and crafts, singing, chair yoga and watching newsreels of yesteryear.

Scrabble afternoon, All Saints Church, Kenton
Every Tuesday from 2-4pm each Tuesday with regular wordsmiths enjoying the competition… and the inevitable cuppa!

St. James’ Parish Church, Exeter, Tuesday Luncheon Club
12.30pm on Tuesdays – over 45-50 people are booked in each week.

St. James’ Parish Church, Exeter, Outreach
A drop in for the over 55’s on Tuesdays from 2 -4pm and is open for people to drop in. Activities include speakers, bingo, quizzes, day outings, theatre trips.

‘Silvertops’  at St Andrews, Cullompton Community Centre
Welcomes people over the age of 50 looking for friendships and social activities on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 1.45-3.45.

‘Fridays Coffee Morning’ St Andrew’s, Cullompton Community Centre
Coffee Morning, held at the St Andrew’s Community Centre, Fridays 10.00am to 11.30am. This has become a useful meeting place for locals of all ages as well as a stopping off point for the ‘Fulfilling Lives’ group and the ‘Walk and Talkers’. The coffee morning is also a welcoming place for people visiting St Andrew’s food bank ‘People Matter’ where they can enjoy the free coffee and cake. More recently a local residential home has included us as a part of their weekly activities.

Holy Trinity Barnstaple runs a  “Holiday at Home” in August, and this has grown in popularity each year as it provides three days of activity, fun and company mainly for older people who may feel lonely during the summer when others can get away on holiday.  Many Trinity Church members young and old volunteer to run activities such as crafts, gentle exercise, quizzes, sing-a-longs, preparing delicious lunches and refreshments, leading a “Thought for the Day” and much more.

Holy Trinity Church, Barnstaple, Interface Drop In,
Saturday lunchtime drop-in in the church hall, serving hot food and sandwiches and providing an opportunity to connect and meet up with friends, particularly anyone experiencing homelessness.

‘Trinity Neighbours’, Trinity Church, Barnstaple
This is a weekly coffee morning for anyone and now many of those who come to the ‘Holiday at Home’ during the summer also join in this weekly time together.

Chatterbox Community Café, St Michael and All Angels Church, Alphington
Meet old friends and make new ones at this weekly event on Friday mornings in the Village Hall – open from 9am.

Lunchbox Café, St Michael and All Angels Church, Alphington
Lunch is served on the 2nd Wednesday of each month between 12 and 1.15pm This monthly event is very well attended and takes place in the Village Hall, serving over 100 at Christmas.

Chattertots, St Michael and All Angels Church, Alphington
A friendly group of Mums, Dads, carers and several Grandmas meet every Tuesday morning, for a weekly baby and toddler group in the Alphington Community Centre from 09.30-11am.

‘Open Door Café’ St George’s, Shillingford St George
10.30am to 12noon, every 2nd Wednesday in the Village Hall, Shillingford.

Community Cafe at St John’s Church, Bridgetown
Wednesdays 10am to 1pm, St John’s Church, Bridgetown – a place of friendship and fellowship to the community. The café runs on a pay what you feel basis.

Stoke Damerel Church, Plymouth
Every Tuesday, 13.00 volunteers run free conversation classes for asylum seekers and migrants.

Ageing Well Torbay is a six year project, funded by Big Lottery, which aims to reconnect communities and reduce social isolation amongst the 50+ generation across Torbay.

The Living Room at St Mary Magdalene in Torquay runs a drop in café for those in need of support and company: