8th - Finding community

For some people, the church can be a bit like a Tardis: it’s much bigger on the inside than it appears to be from the outside. We know our particular church building, squeezed between York Road and Mount Hermon Road in Woking, is a bit like that. It’s almost invisible from the road but, for those who step inside, there is a whole community which comes together, worships together, supports each other and serves our wider community.

In this series for Advent we want to open some windows so everyone can see a bit more of who we are and what goes on in a church like ours.


8thWith an average of 250 runners of all ages, shapes and fitness levels – and sometimes well over 300 participants – Woking parkrun is a thriving community event on the edge of the St Mary of Bethany parish. As with all parkruns, it’s free to enter and starts every Saturday come rain or shine at 09:00 hours.

I’ve been joining the Woking Park Run on and off since the very first one four years ago, and have now done over 50 runs at Woking. When home from University my daughter often joins me on the run making it a real father-daughter activity. We’re often joined by other members of the church and have got to know people from Woking and the surrounding area. In the same way that I find a real sense of community in the people I know at St Mary of Bethany, parkrun is another place that I feel at home.

Some people are in it for the run, most do it for the fun, being an excuse to get out of bed, get some fresh air and exercise and get home for the rest of the weekend – and all before 10am. If you haven’t considered parkrun why not come along. You might bump into me but you’ll certainly meet other people and maybe make some friends while getting fitter.

John Rowland

John (left) is pictured with Martin Brown, another member of St. Mary of Bethany Church, at the end of the Woking parkrun on Saturday 13th October 2018. This was Johns 151st parkrun. John, a mathematician by training, now works in London in the insurance industry and has been part of St Mary of Bethany for over 20 years.

For more information about Woking parkrun http://www.parkrun.org.uk/woking/