Three times a year we go out into our parish, knocking on doors and inviting people to come to a church service which will celebrate an event in the Christian year:
- Christmas: when Jesus was born – for us
- Easter: when he died and came back to life – for us
- Harvest: when we thank God for what he has given us
People come to Christ Church from far and wide but we have a particular interest in our parish. Its boundaries are not those of parish councillors; they are just a convenient way that the Church of England has for dividing up the country. About 6,000 people live in our parish. Some of them go to church regularly but most don’t.
We are offering an opportunity to these people to come and hear part of the great Christian message -an opportunity for those who might only have gone into a church for a wedding or a funeral. While anybody can come at any time, we gear our invitations to three of the most significant times in the Christian calendar.
We don’t want to surprise anyone, so a week or so before our visit we put leaflets through the doors of all the houses we hope to visit. We don’t do the whole area each time but we do aim to cover the whole parish in the course of a year.
On the appointed day, members of the church go out in pairs, just like Jesus’ disciples did, with invitation leaflets and maybe a little gift from the church. If nobody is in, they’ll put a leaflet through the door. Sometimes a householder might want to mention something they’d like a prayer for. The callers are very happy to take requests back to the church; or even to ask for God’s help there and then.
While the callers are out, a smaller group of people will stay behind in the church. They will be praying for God’s blessing on the occupants of the houses and for wisdom for those out knocking on the doors.
In addition, church volunteers post invitation cards into all the houses not covered by the pairs of visitors. The cards offer the same seasonal greeting and invitation.