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Flecknoe Breakfast Service

The parish of St Mark, Flecknoe, is one of the most rural in the Diocese of Coventry. It consists of mostly of farms and small hamlets with about 140 people living in the main village. Ten years ago the church was concerned about dwindling numbers so they decided to make a change.

The church started to look around at what others were doing, and some congregation members attended a service in Badby in the Diocese of Peterborough where coffee was served in the middle of the service. As due to clergy time restrictions the service at St Mark's had to be at 9am, they thought they would follow Badby's lead and experiment with serving breakfast in the middle of the service. They felt that the traditional Holy Communion service was too formal for most people and did not appeal to children so they devised a very simple new service suitable for all ages. The service splits into three sections, each of roughly 20 minutes. The first section is the Welcome, a Hymn, Confession, the Peruvian Gloria (sung without accompaniment), a Bible reading and a talk. Next it is a breakfast of fruit juices, cereals, bacon, sausages, eggs and toast all washed down with proper coffee. All this is done with no plumbing in the church. The service concludes with a hymn, prayers, a simple creed, another hymn and then the Grace.

The service is written in simple language so that even the youngest congregation member can follow it. Having breakfast in the middle means that nobody is rushing off and all have a good opportunity to catch up on local and family news and make new friends. No charges are made, but the church do have a collection that more than covers their costs. They are fortunate to have a skilled cook in the congregation who uses their talents to cook all the food.

Flecknoe's Breakfast Service has steadily grown since its introduction in October 2010 and they now have a regular congregation of 30 or more, swelled by visitors from other parishes in the benefice and some from even further. As a result of the families and children the service has drawn in, Flecknoe now has several new younger members on the PCC and the future of the small church looks much brighter. 

By Andrew Grant, Churchwarden at Flecknoe

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