Welcome to this first shared magazine for the parishes of St John’s Purbrook and Christ Church Portsdown, another step in the growing relationship between our two parishes.

Since the start of the pandemic we have not been able to distribute a printed magazine. Now, as we begin to do that once more, seemed a good time to bring the two publications together. Over the coming months we will be seeking to make this a magazine for both parishes.

We have come a long way since the nineteenth century when there was open hostility between our two parishes! It is good that those days are well behind us.

When I arrived at Christ Church 14 years ago, I found that the parish was part of a cluster with the parishes of Purbrook, Crookhorn, Waterlooville and Denmead. This had come out of the diocesan ‘Kairos’ initiative. Some of you may remember a series of joint services culminating in a wonderful day at Crookhorn College in 2011 with a variety of workshops culminating in a shared Communion presided over by our then relatively new bishop.

In 2013 we established the Portsdown Cluster. The three parishes of Portsdown, Purbrook and Crookhorn were invited to look at ways of working together. This had mixed success – there was a cluster weekend away and a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but these opportunities were not taken up across all three parishes.

At the beginning of 2019, I became priest-in-charge at St John’s, remaining Vicar at Christ Church. Since then we have looked to bring these two parishes together. We began to make some progress, but the Covid pandemic has made this difficult. We were looking at whether we should formally merger the two parishes into one, but this has now been put on hold, while wider conversations take place.

We are now being asked by the diocese to consider our relationship with other parishes across Waterlooville, taking us back to the ‘Kairos’ cluster (with the addition of Hart Plain). It is not yet clear what form this relationship will take, but there will be further meetings in September and October to discuss it.

In the meantime, my hope is that our two parishes can resume our efforts to come closer together, so that we can better serve the community in which we are placed.

Revd Andy Wilson
Vicar, Christ Church Portsdown
Priest-in-Charge, St John the Baptist Purbrook
Curate, Church of the Good Shepherd Crookhorn
Chaplain, Havant & Waterlooville FC