Christ Church Ware
Formed out of the ancient parish in 1858, Christ Church now serves half of the town of Ware. (Latest census figures put the town’s population at 17,000). Traditionally evangelical, it remains firmly attached to its historical roots whilst being very open to the rich influence of the Renewal movement. The intention of the men and women who built this church was for Christ Church to be active in the town of Ware, bringing the Gospel to every generation and meeting the pressing social, economic and physical needs of the people of the parish. The needs of the town may have changed 150 years later, but its desire to serve Christ in the community has not diminished. Today it has a growing ministry to young people, families, single parents, the bereaved and men.
There is a large voluntary aided Church school and good relationships with a large secondary girls’ school in the parish. It is also in partnership with Emmanuel Shared Church, an Anglican Baptist Local Ecumenical Project, which meets in a school in the north of the parish. Mission plays a significant part in the life of the church and it supports 14 mission partners and their children in this country and across the world.
The church today
It has a large and motivated congregation (250 adults and 60 children and young people on the books) and excellent facilities with modern halls. The complex is used heavily during the week, largely by church run groups. Upstairs there is a suite of rooms which are primarily for the young people's groups. It is their intention to address the physical limitations of our Victorian church in the future. To serve the needs of the congregation Christ Church has a full-time clergy (Rev John Hookway ); one full-time curate(Rev. Keith Murphy); five readers, an operations Manager (Martin Dudley) and a part-time administrator (Mrs Tina Wilkinson), along with a large number of voluntary workers.
With two services on most Sundays the church is able to offer a broader range of styles and ample opportunity for using spiritual gifts.
- The 9:15am service is a more structured service, led by organ and piano, and using a mixture of hymns and songs. The congregation at this service are committed, enthusiastic and appreciative of its gentle formality. It is growing in numbers and they are seeking ways to assist this growth and develop the quality of the worship.
- The 11:00am service draws a wide age range and does attract the families. Music is led by a number of worship bands. Hymns are more the exception here. Children’s Church runs during the service though the service is finished altogether.
- The 7:00pm service (2nd and 4th Sunday of each month) is very informal, more contemporary and largely led by the young people from the church.
Relationships with the other churches in the town are excellent, with growing commitment to share resources and to work together on projects. They have begun to hold services in the town where the Christians of all denominations can unite in worship. Christ Church is part of the Anglican Deanery of Ware and Hertford and together it is seeking to remove the traditional barriers between local parishes and share in the task of mission.