Church service in Bolnore for ‘those who know little of Christ’

Jon Hobbs at his home in Bolnore (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150414-182558008
Jon Hobbs at his home in Bolnore (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150414-182558008

A minister who was an atheist until his mid-20s is setting up a church service in Bolnore, partly to focus on people who know little about the faith.

Jon Hobbs, minister at Grace Church, Haywards Heath, launched a weekly Sunday church service at The Woodside last weekend.

The reverend worked in business before being trained for ordained ministry.

“I became a Christian after being moved to properly investigate Christianity by the difference I witnessed in the lives of Christians I knew, and by questions I had begun to ask about life,” he said.

The reverend became a curate at All Saints’ Church in Lindfield and then rector of Maresfield and vicar of Nutley.

“I have a particular concern to help those who know little of Christ and have little or no experience of church, to understand something of what Christianity is about,” he said.

“Grace Church therefore seeks to be especially accessible to such people.”

In January 2012 the reverend moved to Haywards Heath to serve as minister of Grace Church while being employed two days a week by the Sussex Gospel Partnership as associate trainer.

There will be an extra service at The Woodside, at Middle Village, at 4pm to cater for young people who have regular sporting commitments.

The Reverend continued: “We are a demographically young church with as many children and teens as adults. Our aim is to be a church that shares the love and message of Christ naturally with people we might engage with in village life; to be a place where folk of whatever background with questions about faith might find answers, and where people in need might find support.”

Grace Church has run Messy Church for two years on the last Sunday morning of the month. It includes 45 minutes of crafts and refreshments, a short child-friendly service with a talk based on a gospel that was illustrated in the crafts.

“Messy Church attempts to make church particularly accessible to those with primary aged children who might otherwise be reticent to come because of worry that their children will disrupt things. About 30 families from the village attend on occasion, with a number now quite regular, and a few attend our weekly church service too,” the reverend added.

Grace Church was formed in 2008 by All Saints, Lindfield, as a church plant, in which a group of the congregation became a new church. After seeing the congregation double, the church relocated.