Organisations linked with us

After School Club

At the After School Club we provide facilities for children to play pool, engage in art and craft activities, role-play, construction or watch DVDs. We meet in the Parish Centre on weekdays. For further details, contact Bridget Sayer.


Afternoon Bible Study Group

This group meets in the Parish Centre Lounge at 2.00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month. Please confirm meeting details by viewing our Events page.

For further details, contact Peter Watson (01253) 729725.


Bible Reading Fellowship

In the wilderness, Jesus meditated on the Hebrew Scriptures which he had learned from childhood. The devil attacked where Jesus was strong, quoting the scriptures and applying them falsely. Jesus drew deeply on his memory and countered with other passages which kept his faith from failing.

There is a lesson here for us. Knowledge of the Bible is a good and holy thing. But knowledge of the scriptures must go hand in hand with a sensitive interpretation and an obedient heart.

The Bible Reading Fellowship offers a fresh devotional approach to Bible reading. The regular team of contributors is drawn from a wide range of backgrounds. New Daylight contains a Bible passage, a comment and a short prayer or reflection for each day. New Daylight notes the Sundays and special festivals from the Church Calendar to help readers appreciate the riches of the Christian year. Also included is the BRF magazine, with articles and book extracts reflecting BRF's core ministries: prayer and spirituality, discipleship and exploring the Bible.

If you would like to join and become a subscriber or sample the reading material, contact our representative here at St Thomas's: Maurice Unsworth (01253) 711335.

You can visit the BRF website here.


The BRF Prayer

Almighty God,
You have taught us that your word is a lamp for our feet
And a light for our path. Help us, and all who prayerfully
Read your word, to deepen our fellowship with each other
Through your love. And in so doing, may we come to know you
More fully, love you more truly, and follow more faithfully in
The steps of your son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with
You and the Holy Spirit, one God for evermore. Amen.


Blanket Knitters

Pictures courtesy of Rod Boyce.

Over the years, we have made over 1,900 blankets, both single and double size. There is a small group at Ashton Gardens' View apartments who get together to knit. One of our ladies, who is 96 years old, is making double blankets which comprise 80 knitted squares. Other items being knitted are woolly hats, children's cardigans and jumpers.

Finished batches are taken to to International Aid Trust in Much Hoole. This is a Christian-based organisation which has agents in all parts of the world, and who request items such as blankets to alleviate need in their area of operation.

The blankets are transported abroad in lorries in large containers along with other items for distribution.

The recipients are in many situations: hospital wards, maternity clinics, children's homes, schools, holiday homes, nursing and rest homes, wherever a blanket is a welcome means of making life a little more bearable. Many of our own contributions we understand go to Kiev and the rest of the Ukraine, Belarus and other troubled countries in Eastern Europe.


Brownies

St Anne's Brownies (St Thomas's) is one section of Girl Guiding UK, with an aim to provide activities for girls aged 7-10 and have fun with games, crafts and community projects. Any girl 7 - 10 years can join with no restriction of faith culture or nationality. Trained volunteers are cleared by Criminal Records Bureau checks.

Brownies meet weekly in the Parish Centre, term time only. For further details, contact Sue Allen (01253) 789718 or (01253) 720195.


Choir

At St Thomas's, the choir aims to encourage singing in church, to learn new material and enhance and liven our services. We meet to rehearse the hymns, anthems and occasional new material in the Parish Centre weekly on Thursdays and for the regular Sunday services.

The choir consists of a dedicated group of adults and young people who enjoy singing. One does not have to read music although it helps to do so. New recruits are very welcome, as are extra singers to form an augmented choir on special occasions and festivals. Please come and join us! For further details, contact our Music Director and Organist, Mandy Palmer (01253) 711794 .


Churches Together in St Anne's

Christians in St Anne's from all denominations came together in 2018 in a new way to celebrate their faith and to help those in need in our town.

They formed a new Lay Partnership under the umbrella of Churches Together. Members hope that eventually a minimum of two volunteers from each church will join them.

The Partnership meets several times a year, each time at a different church, to promote co-operation between churches and to plan joint activities. Once a year, the Partnership intends to hold a meeting with Churches Together's Clergy Fraternity.

The first joint activity, together with churches in Ansdell and Lytham, was a Walk of Witness. The Walk took place at Pentecost 2018, starting from St Anne's pier and ending in a service at Fairhaven Lake attended by an estimated 200 people.

Other projects include a joint ecumenical Christmas card to be distributed throughout the town, a joint service of Blessing of the Crib in St Anne's Square to follow the switching on of the Christmas lights, a joint service during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January and a joint Lent Course. Planning is about to start too for the Walk of Witness 2020.

Meanwhile the plight of the homeless has prompted lengthy discussion at meetings. The Partnership is fortunate to include members who have been involved for many years in helping the homeless and can offer guidance on what most needs to be done and what can realistically be done.

Meetings of the Lay Partnership are informal; there is no committee and no money involved. Peter Watson, Lay Minister at St Thomas Church, St Anne's, chairs the meetings, takes notes and distributes a resume to members afterwards. Everyone is welcome to come along to meetings, the dates and times of which are posted in church bulletins, parish magazines and on notice boards.

Once, the different denominations kept themselves to themselves. Now we face the future holding hands. That has to be worth supporting.

Food Bank and Drop in Centre Report 2019

As the Chair of the Lay Partnership of Churches Together in St Anne's on the Tuesday of Holy Week I visited the Food Bank and Drop in Centre in order to find out more about them.

The Drop in Centre, originally started by the Council of Churches in St Anne's in 1991, had in recent years come under the YMCA. It has now moved to be part of the Food Bank at the United Reformed Church in St George's Road. The Food Bank, which is affiliated to the Trussell Trust, relocated to the URC earlier this year. The Trussell Trust support a nationwide network of food banks and who together provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK. For more information you can see the Trussell Trust website. Fylde Food Bank is a charity in its own right, with its own website, and receives some support from Fylde Borough Council. The Food Bank in St Anne's opens on Tuesdays and Thursdays (there are branches at Kirkham and Warton open on other weekdays) and the Drop in Centre opens on Tuesdays.

The Trussell Trust supports more than 1,200 food bank centres in the UK to provide a minimum of three days' nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis, as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face. The Trussell Trust is an anti-poverty charity founded on Christian principles. It works with people of all faiths and none, and is founded on Jesus' words:

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."
- Matthew 25:35-36

Between April 2017 and March 2018, food banks in the Trussell Trust network provided more than 1.3 million emergency food supplies to people in crisis.

Schools, churches , businesses and individuals donate non-perishable, in-date food to a food bank. Sometimes there is unwanted food due to over production. On the day I visited the Food Bank and Drop in Centre had M&S flowers to give out as they had passed their display date. It was lovely for people who would otherwise not have had spring flowers for Easter. Volunteers sort food to check that it's in date and store it ready to be given to people who are referred to food banks in crisis. More than 40,000 people give up their time to volunteer at food banks across the UK.

Food banks partner with a wide range of care professionals such as clergy, doctors, teachers, health visitors, social workers etc to identify people in crisis and give them a food bank voucher to access emergency food. People bring their voucher to a food bank centre where it can be redeemed for three days' emergency food. Volunteers welcome people and offer them further support to help resolve the crisis they face, e.g. putting them in touch with Citizens Advice or debt counselling. So as not to encourage a culture of dependency people are limited to three referrals in a six month period. Food banks aim to provide compassionate, practical support to people in crisis to tackle the root causes that lock people into poverty and build people's resilience so they are less likely to need a food bank in the future. There are a variety of crises which lead to the need for food banks, such as, homelessness, debt, benefit delays and changes in benefits.

The Drop in Centre is open to people of any age and any need. They are given a sandwich lunch and signposted to any organisations or government departments who can help them. Often what they most need is just someone to listen to them. Care in the Community has meant that there are often people in need with mental health problems. During the time the Centre came under the Council of Churches homelessness emerged as the greatest need, so Face to Face and Harbour House were set up particularly to help homeless young people. Both these have now been handed on to be run by other organisations. The Drop in Centre helpers are still all volunteers from the various churches in St Anne's.

On the day I visited there were about 20 people in the Drop in Centre and a steady stream of people at the Food Bank. I hope we can all continue to support this much needed work in our giving of food and finance, and in our prayers. Our thanks go to all the volunteers who give their time to this work.

Peter Watson - Lay Minister at St Thomas's Church, St Anne's.

Cooking on a Budget - Wesley's Café

The story of Wesley's begins three years ago, when Church Road Methodist Church was home to Fylde Food Bank.

One day, Paul Caddy - a recently semi-retired hotel and restaurant owner with too much time and energy to 'just retire' - popped in. He was looking for an opportunity to help people to learn to cook so that they could eat well and cheaply. He wanted to show people how to make tasty meals with food from the Food Bank and for the cost of a McDonalds make breakfast, dinner and tea. He found the that Church Road had refurbished the kitchen at a cost of £20k and their Minister - Rev Stephen Heath who shared his passion for healthy eating on a budget, was looking to develop a food based project. After six months' planning and preparation, Wesley's was born.

Paul, though he comes from a 'high end' catering background, was aware that food and social poverty are found everywhere, even in apparently affluent areas like St Anne's - and Stephen saw this as a very practical way of expressing Christ's love to the church's neighbours.

Stephen admits that some of the church people were cautious about this at first, but his gentle yet persistent championing of the venture won them over. Paul underlined too how vital it is that any church hosting a similar venture is open to, supportive of and engaged with it.

Wesley's paused while the remodelling of the premises forced its temporary closure, but it reopened earlier this year and regained the highest hygiene rating (5)! Many of the original volunteers (most from outside the church) returned and it currently serves lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays - £2.50 for a three course meal with hot or cold drink, from a menu with many options, for adults - children eat free. Despite the low prices, food costs are being covered, with a little in reserve to cover wear and tear etc.

Paul and Stephen agree that Wesley's has improved the social wellbeing of both volunteers and customers around cooking and eating nice food. The volunteer team - which includes a retired doctor, senior police officer and chemist - enjoys great camaraderie as well as great leftovers to take home.

Two offshoots - Wesley's Table and Wesley's Larder have been added. The former relies on Tesco donating excess food which would otherwise go to landfill. In two and a half years the equivalents of over 53,000 meals has been distributed by Wesley's across the community from Tesco. In addition to that another £500 at Supermarket prices, has been distributed each week.

Stephen emphasises that all this needs careful management to ensure that 'need' and not 'greed' is being met. He fully supports Paul's plans to introduce Family Breakfasts and light lunches for the summer holidays - a time when many feel the pinch from the lack of Free School Meals. Normal service at Wesley's will resume in September.

A few of the volunteers, dressed ready for action in the kitchen.

Off-site catering e.g. for youth clubs is also underway. Paul says he feels he 'has a tiger by the tail' and is ready to explore new avenues - for example, he has run 2 x 6 week cooking courses and would repeat this if there was demand - for him the venture has no barriers other than people's time and energy.

He was honoured to be invited to a royal garden partying in the spring in recognition of his work in Wesley's.

Stephen is keen to help the project develop. He says, 'Come to eat or have a look around or consider the many volunteering opportunities to get a real taste for what can be achieved.'


For further information about Churches Together in St Anne's contact: Peter Watson (01253) 729725


Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop is open twice a month. We aim to provide a friendly and relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy a good cup of coffee, freshly baked scones and homemade cakes as well as the opportunity to meet up with old friends and to make new ones. See our Events page for forthcoming meetings.

Mary Davidson


Guides

4th St Anne's Guides (St Thomas's) is for girls aged 10 - 14 and is part of Girl Guiding UK - one of 600,000 members worldwide. There are activities indoors and outdoors which challenge Guides and often planned and delivered by the girls. These activities include games, crafts, cooking, challenges and community projects. Guides will also have opportunities to attend residential events both in the UK and abroad. Trained volunteers are cleared by Criminal Records Bureau checks.

Guides meet in the Parish Centre, weekly during school term time. For further details, contact Sue Allen (01253) 789718 or (01253) 720195.


Hampton Court Housegroup

The House Group at 5 Hampton Court, St Anne's was formed over twenty years ago for prayer, study and fellowship.

A dozen or so members meet regularly on Thursday evenings at monthly intervals and weekly throughout Lent.

We use various study booklets and in recent years have used material supplied by York Courses. York Courses started in 1997 and include audio contributions from church leaders, theologians and lay people from various denominations and this format works well.

We meet in a spirit of friendship and friendly informality exploring issues at a gentle pace and widening our understanding of scripture. Our meetings are prayerful and varied, every member is valued and we are greatly encouraged by the continuing spirit of friendship within the group.

For further details contact Maurice and Christine Unsworth (01253) 711335. We look forward to seeing you.


Messy Church

Messy Church at St Thomas's.

If you've heard of it you'll know what to expect. If you haven't it's a mixture of fun activities and a short celebration time for the whole family. Come along and "taste and see that the Lord is good" and there's a meal as well!


See the Messy Church website for what's happening nationally.

For further details of our own Messy Church, use this email address:

Making displays for the festival of Pentecost.


Nursery

Nursery Praise

This is a short service with story and songs aimed at pre-school nursery children. It is usually held on the second Wednesday of each half term. Local pre-nursery schools are all welcome to attend. For further details, contact Kath Asquith (01253) 367768.


Prayer Group

A time of prayer for the work of the church, held in the side chapel each month. See our Events page for forthcoming meetings.


Stepping Stones Bereavement Support Group

We have a bereavement support group meeting each month in the Parish Centre.

This is an informal meeting for anyone who has recently been bereaved, where you can have a chat with other bereaved people over a cup of tea.

The first year following the loss of someone close can be overwhelming. People may experience lots of complex feelings at a time where there is so much to do on a practical level. Sometimes off-loading feelings in a safe environment is easier than coping alone and can reduce the feeling that you are "going mad" or "not coping". The group is non-religious and you will not be judged or be told what you should be doing or feeling.

You do not need an appointment: just turn up and you will be made welcome.

See our Events page for forthcoming meetings.


Youth Group

Youth Group takes place once a month. See our Events page for forthcoming meetings. The activities are very ably run by our more senior young people, but of course we do also need plenty of adults around now that numbers are increasing, so if you feel you could help in any way do get in touch. It has been encouraging to see some of the parents offering to help out and clearly starting to feel a part of our church family by doing so. Please pray for this very important aspect of our church life and, as always, any ideas, suggestions or offers of help are very welcome!

The youth group is for members only. To apply, contact Mandy Palmer 07821 626121.