‘It’s great to be launching our website around the time of our Patronal Festival. Two years ago, Bishop Paul visited the church on 1 May. It was not only our Patronal, it was also the occasion when he commissioned me as Area Dean of Kensington. He preached on Philip’s words to Nathanael in John’s Gospel: ‘Come and see’.
For some time we’d been wanting to find a few words to sum up St Philip’s mission and help draw people in. After Bishop Paul’s sermon, Lesley Perry suddenly said: ‘That’s what the tagline should be! ‘Come and see’.
‘Come and see’ of course has two meanings. It means ‘come and see’ St Philip’s. Come and see your local church. Come and see one of the few places locally where you can find community happening week after week, people from local streets gathering together in one place (pubs are the obvious other places). Come and see a church which has grown steadily over the last few years, our membership up 34% in six years. Come and see a church which has a distinctive blend of informality and welcome whilst relying on a structure of worship – a liturgy – which has its roots in centuries of Christian services.
But like Philip, we are also saying ‘Come and see Jesus’. That, in the end, is what church is about. To be a Christian is to be someone who responds, as Philip did, to Jesus’s words ‘Follow me’.
Our hope is that as people ‘come and see’ St Philip’s, they will in the end find themselves seeing Jesus and choosing to follow him.
But all are welcome.