What we do

The church is a wonderful organisation to be part of.


The Lectio 365 daily meditation describes it as a “beautiful multicultural intergenerational family”


The well-known evangelist J John presents a different viewpoint in his description: “it is a global enterprise -  weve got outlets in nearly every country in the world. We have hospitals, hospices and homeless shelters. We do marriage work, we have orphanages.  We do all sorts of justice and reconciliation work.  Basically we look after people from birth to death and we deal in the area of their behavioural alteration.”


Another perhaps more down-to-earth description is that we are a “bunch of ordinary people following an extraordinary Jesus”


The church is really all of these things - it is a family of people who belong to one another in Christ but also a group that reaches out and seeks to make a positive contribution to their community in practical ways.  It is also full of ordinary people - it is open to everyone who will come and follow our amazing Jesus.


The church in Shirley is glad to be part of this global family.   It also seeks to spread the good news of the love of God in our area and to demonstrate that love in practical ways.  We don’t cover all the things mentioned by J John but we are able to provide a wide range of them in our area.  There are activities for children, young people and older folk and there’s help for people in financial difficulties or other areas in their lives.  Please scroll down to find details of what’s going on.


Proclaiming the Good News


One of Jesus’ great commissions to the church was to make disciples of all nations.  We have wonderful good news to share about God’s love for all people.  Coming to know God through our faith in Jesus has made such a positive difference in our own lives that we are keen for others to come to know Him as well.   This good news is explained in more detail on the ‘Our good news’ page of this website


So, we aim to create opportunities for people to hear this good news.  The weekly services in each of our churches described in the ‘Our meetings' page are open for all to attend.  They are places where the good news is explained.  Also twice a year, at Christmas and Easter we get together as churches in Shirley and go out on to the street to share the good news in the open air.

Alpha Courses



We also run Alpha courses, which aim to explain the good news about Jesus in an accessible way.  This initiative was originally developed in the UK, but is now used worldwide.  It involves around 10 sessions held weekly, usually in the evening, where people interested in learning more about Christianity can share a meal together, listen to a talk on an aspect of the Christian faith, and then discuss in small groups what has been said.  Many people have come to Christ as a result of these courses.  They are held in our local churches in Shirley on a reasonably regular basis - please see our individual websites for details.


Community activities


Our community activities reflect our desire to respond to Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbour.  Some of these are run in our own churches, but others are Christian initiatives that are city-wide or national, reaching out to specific needs.


We are keen to support people of all ages in our area and run activities geared to the particular needs of the different groups




In addition to the events organised for children and young people in our churches on Sundays, which are mentioned in the Our meetings page, we also run a variety of events during the week. 


Mums and toddlers





Several of our churches run Mum’s and Toddler groups.


Speckled Frogs at Shirley Baptist

The Ark at St James by the Park

Bubbles and Flowerpots at Freemantle Baptist

Baby and Toddler and Bumps and Babies at St Marks

Toddler Group at St Boniface

Tadpoles and Who let the Dad’s out at St James Road Methodist

Little Ones at New Community Church


If you are interested in any of these please visit the individual church websites for details.


Children of Infant and Junior school age


Several of our churches run regular midweek activities for children of this age


Livewires at  Freemantle Baptist Church

Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade at St James Road Methodist Church

Boys’ Brigade at Isaac Watts Church

Speckled Frogs at Shirley Baptist Church

Adventurers and Trailblazers at New Community Church


Please visit individual church websites for details.


We also run one-off events at various times during the year for this group of children.   There is usually a holiday club in the summer holidays such as the Wonderzone club, hosted by St James by the Park.  We also have alternative Halloween events such as the Light Party and various children’s activities around Christmas.  See our What’s On page for what’s coming up soon.


Young People


Several of our churches have midweek events for young people in addition to the groups that meeting on Sundays mentioned in the ‘Our meetings’ page.  Most of these take the form of a social event with a ‘God slot’ giving the opportunity for young people to meet one another in a Christian context.


These happen at:


Limitless Mercy Church - Wednesday Bible study and monthly activity nights

Life church - Thursday Night youth

Salvation Army - Youth Club

St James by the Park - Torch (age 10-13), Connect (age 13-18)

Shirley Baptist - Flame

Covenant Church - Relentless Generation

New Community Church - Club night (school years 6-8), Older Youth hub (school years 9+)


St James Road Methodist church run Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade companies which give the young people a wider range of activities, with opportunities to learn new skills etc.  Isaac Watts also has a small Boys’ Brigade company.

St Boniface Church run confirmation preparation classes for young people specifically to give them a grounding in the Catholic faith


Links with local schools


We also have links with several of our local schools.  The National Curriculum in schools in the UK includes providing opportunities for spiritual development.  As Churches Together in Shirley we are well placed to support our local schools in this requirement.   St James by the Park, for example, hosts events for local schools each year at Christmas and Easter.



Our children’s and youth leaders are also able to have one-to-one sessions with children at Shirley Junior School and Upper Shirley High.  Rev Georgia Condell of St Mark’s church is chaplain to St Mark’s school and is able to contribute to the children’s spiritual development in a variety of ways.  Southampton Street Pastors also provide a weekly point of contact for pupils at Upper Shirley High School and St James by the Park provide ‘Drinks and doughnuts’ once a week to children coming home from school.  Each year we provide the ‘It’s your move’ booklet to children in year 6 to help prepare them in their move to senior school.



Older People


We recognise that older people in our community often need particular help and we have many events geared to the specific needs of older people.  Details of these can be found on our individual church websites.


Most of these events are social gatherings for coffee or for a meal usually in the daytime.  This means that they are particularly convenient for older folk, although many of them are also open to younger people who are able to attend as well.  They are great places to overcome the loneliness which many people feel as they get older.



Other church-based organisations are geared to provide help to older people in particular ways. One example is Communicare, which provides practical help for people that need it.  They aim to enrich the quality of life of lonely and isolated people in Southampton, providing practical and emotional support in a variety of ways.



For more details on Communicare see their website.


There are also clubs that are aimed specifically for people with memory problems.  Examples of these are the Memory Cafe at St James Road Methodist and the Dementia Friendly sessions at Lordshill Church.  Details of these are on the What’s on page of this website.


There are also get-togethers for those who have responsibility for caring for a family members at the Carer’s Cafe held in the Parklife Cafe in St James Park.  Again details are on the What’s on page.


Another source of information on services for older people is the Caraway website.  Caraway is a Christian charity promoting the wellbeing and spiritual needs of Southamptons older community.



Financial Hardship


Caring for the poor is a strong theme throughout the Bible and we as churches recognise the huge need globally and in our own country, with many people living in financial hardship.  While there is no way we can meet the need as a relatively small group of people, we aim to do what we can to make a positive contribution to the situation


Locally, Basics Bank Southampton is a city-wide service that aims to help some of the most deprived families and individuals with very basic necessities of food and clothing.  It is part of Southampton City Mission providing its services at different locations across Southampton.  There are food venues in our area at Shirley Baptist Church and Lord’s Hill church.


Southampton City And Region Action To Combat Hardship (SCRATCH) also originated from Southampton City Mission but became a charity on its own right in 2009.  They complement Basics Bank by providing help to people in need in other areas - furniture, decoration, removals and providing Christmas present to families who can’t afford them.



Another Christian charity which reaches out to the poor in the UK is Christians against Poverty (CAP).  This gets alongside individuals or families who have run into financial difficulties  aiming to help them find a way to financial stability.  It uses trained counsellors from local churches to provide this support and also runs training courses on how to handle money.  Many people across the UK have been helped by CAP.   Several churches in Shirley have specific CAP events and individuals from others are involved as counsellors.




Several of our churches and individuals reach out to the homeless community in Southampton.  The New Community Church runs a weekly Community Cafe each Sunday providing a hot meal and also a weekly Warm Space with free refreshments on Wednesdays. Love Southampton is an organisation which aims to encourage the Christian community in Southampton  to be engaged in  social change in the city, and as part of this, they signpost homeless people to places where they can find help.  Individuals from our churches in Shirley are involved in supporting their work


We also provide financial and prayer support to charities which reach out to poor in other countries.  An example is tearfund (The Evangelical Alliance Relief fund) which works with local churches and other agencies in many countries providing support and education aimed at helping people learn how to provide for themselves.  Several of our churches also have direct links to churches in other countries which we support in various ways.




Other community activities


Firgrove Centre


The Firgrove Centre based in Shirley is a Christian charity which originated from the New Community Church.  They aim to help people deal with the impact of miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or sudden infant death (SID), unintended pregnancy, and issues surrounding a termination or infertility.  They have helped many women in these difficult situations.



Welcoming the stranger


Being welcoming to people from other countries and backgrounds is another theme that comes through strongly in the Bible and again we in the church in Shirley have sought to respond to this guidance.  In recent years we have been pleased to have the opportunity to welcome  into our churches and our families people who are seeking refuge from troubled spots in the world such as Ukraine and Hong Kong


Several churches across Southampton including New Community Church provide English conversation classes. Again Love Southampton is a great resource for information of what is available to newcomers to the UK.


Street Pastors


Street Pastors is a national organisation that aims to help people who are out on the streets at night.   They are trained volunteers from local churches who care about their community.  They patrol in teams of men and women, usually from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. on a Friday and Saturday night, to care for, listen to and help people who are out on the streets.  Southampton has over 100 Street Pastors with several from the churches in Shirley.  They also provide help to schools mentioned above.



Our Buildings


Our church buildings provide a great resource and are used for a variety of community activities by both our churches and outside organisations, including keep-fit classes and a whole range of hobby clubs, details of which can be found in the individual church websites.  We also provide space for other churches to meet on our premises.  For example there are many churches of different nationalities in Southampton and several of these use the church buildings in Shirley for their services.


A special mention should be made of the Make ’n Brew coffee shop in St James Road Methodist Church.  It provides a wonderful place  for people to meet up and enjoy eating and drinking together and is a great venue for a variety of events.



Other Activities


Prayer and Bible Study


Prayer and Bible study are fundamental to our walk with God as Christians,  We express our dependence on Him in our day to day lives in our prayers and recognise our need for His wisdom as we study His word.  We do this individually but we also love to do them together with other Christians.  So in addition to our Sunday gatherings and our small groups meetings where they both feature strongly, we have various meetings which focus on them specifically.  Details can be found on the websites of our individual churches in the local churches page.


Retreat Days and Conferences


We also take part in retreat days where we devote a whole day to coming before God in prayer and in Christian conferences, such as New Wine, where we go away for a week as families to join with Christians from around the country.  These are encouraging events which allow us to set apart special time to worship God, to learn from his word preached by gifted speakers, and to hear about all that God is doing around the country and around the world.



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© Andrew Coombs