While many churches no longer have a Sunday evening service, Pudsey Parish Church is bucking the trend. It has just relaunched its evening service offering a greater choice to appeal to a wider diversity of people – and numbers are increasing.
Vicar, the Revd Paul Ayers, says, “We’ve run a successful café church service for some years, but wanted to extend the range of what we offer. We’ve particularly become aware of a desire for more meditative, reflective services, so as well as introducing more space and silence into our bi-monthly communion services, on the fourth Sunday we have a ‘Stillness Service’. We use the minimum of electricity - so no screens and no music - with extended times of silence, and candles.
“In a frantic world with information coming at us from all directions, many people really value having the dedicated time and space to settle their thoughts and reflect without distraction. As Sunday can be like any other day of the week, with shopping, sporting and business carrying on, this is one way of marking it as different.”
Their café church happens once a month, where after a good meal and a sermon there’s lots of lively discussion and prayer around the tables. When there’s a fifth Sunday in the month, they have prayer for healing, whether that’s physical, emotional or spiritual or social.
Paul adds, “The liturgy is very flexible, so we can remain fully Anglican while being quite creative. And we’re finding that by diversifying and offering more options, we’re reaching more people.
“In no way do I want to poach people from other churches, but for those who don’t have an evening service and would like to go to one, we want to extend a warm welcome to them”.