Father's Day welcome at Finchampstead
Vintage sports cars, a golf simulator, sports activities and bacon butties – just some of what was on offer on Father's Day at a Berkshire Baptist church
Finchampstead Baptist Church pulled out the stops to make Father's Day a special time for its community – as well as encouraging people to consider what makes for strength in fatherhood.
The aim was to organise a high quality event catered not simply for blokes, but the whole family, explained minister Chris Simpkins.
On arrival guests were able to admire vintage cars and motorbikes in the church car park, which have been shared by church friends. Once inside there were a range of activities for people to take part in: indoor archery, a digi wall (a fusion of climbing wall and games console), coconut shy, bouncy castles and craft. There was even an opportunity to battle a chess master. Bacon butties and coffee were available throughout.
The activities lasted for 45 minutes, followed by a 30 minute presentation from the main stage, featuring live music, a drama group performing a Fathers’ Day rap, and a short message from Chris on the theme of the day, which is strength. He also talked about an upcoming Sunday series on the same theme. Following the talk guests were free to return to the activities.
‘We want to put on a really community focused, high quality event, that’s good for dads and their families,’ said Chris, speaking ahead of the event.
‘We want to give them a vision of what true strength is, and we want to share what God has to say about being a father. For that’s the common thing here – they all want to be better fathers, and God can help them.
‘It’s a hopefully a step to something more. We want them to experience something positive. They will hopefully think there is something in it and want to come to our series.’
It’s the second year the church has organised an event on Father's Day, building on last year’s fun when around 350 come through the doors. Chris explained that the church regularly hosts events on notable dates in the calendar: it’s all part of a culture of invitation, with the congregation equipped and enabled to invite their friends to something of interest. Though there is a core gospel message at their heart, Sundays are deliberately structured to be accessible to non-Christians.
‘It’s a strong priority for people to invite others, for that’s how people come to faith, through invitation,’ said Chris. ‘We work hard to give people the confidence to know they’ll be inviting to something not cringy.
‘We recognise the importance of events as stepping stones, and we make the most of opportunities like Mother's Day, at Christmas, Easter. Events like Man Sunday are pyramid events – they help to introduce people to life here.
‘There’s what we do on Sundays, which is very important, and we also run courses like Christianity Explored, so there are various levels of invitational opportunity.
‘People will come, some will stick and some will find faith. It’s not huge numbers, but it’s lives transformed, and you can see the impact it has on them and their families.’