Saint Swithins Church - Parish of Walcot

Church Life

“They spent their time learning from the apostles, and they were like family to each other”.

Acts 2:42 CEV

Relationship is at the heart of St Swithin’s. This is a place to be known and to know others. The activities and events that shape our weeks have grown out of who we are as individuals and as a community and who we are becoming. The groups that gather in the week express God’s intimacy and the love He has for us through one another. Together we celebrate the aliveness of God in each person. Each person comes just as they are and there is room for everyone.

My dad's been worshipping here for many many years and he’s always said 'you should come along and watch me preach’. I’ve always been a Christian but lost my way during my teen years, but have been trying to find my way back. Then he said, 'what about the Alpha course?’ He said, 'You’ll be fed!’ which for a single person is ideal! So I came down and it was great because I felt at home here.

First of all it was the welcome. You know, there was no pressure. It was a case of 'there’s your lasagne, stay as long as you want and if we don’t see you again fair enough’. It was 'take in as much as you want, and ask as much as you want’ and that was great because I don’t like being pressured.

It also gave me a direction. My life, my faith was all over the place. I knew which way I wanted to go, but I didn’t know which ‘kissing gate’ to walk through. So it grounded me. Then something happened on the away day. Simon said something to me while he was praying for me and it just clicked. It was something I was thinking about for a long time and it all clicked into place.

I have started going to an evening group ‘Beta’ as a follow-up to Alpha. It was of course the welcome again, it was no pressure – it was ‘come to our house and have a cup of tea’. It was relaxed, and it answered my questions at a really nice pace. Then I was baptised here on Easter Day, 4th April 2010. It was great to be baptised in the church surrounded by the extended church family, and it felt really special.

In the last 3-4 months I feel like I’m connecting with more people here. I’m getting to know lots of people and people are getting to know me as Les in my own right rather than just the son of Les. I’ve really appreciated that. I’ve started doing reading in church which was scary, and I want to get more involved in that, and I’d like to preach eventually! It’s a long way off though!

I feel cared for here. I know that if I was ever in trouble or in distress I could just walk through those doors and there are people that are there for me and concerned for me, who would approach me or I could approach for help which is the whole thing about Walcot I think. There’s such a big emphasis on community and family, and you get that. You’re always very, very, warmly received.

Les Cooper