Night Church is very simple. We simply open St. Clement’s to whoever wants to enter in order to show God’s love through unconditional hospitality and be sensitive to people’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
They are welcome just to come, look, to enjoy and, if they want, to talk or pray. People appreciate being in a church where there are no conditions.
We encounter a whole variety of people at Night Church. We usually have some vulnerable people who come – they are either homeless or in accommodation with a low income (if any). Others include local residents and visitors, or tourists who are just inquisitive and come to find out what is going on.
Visitors come from far and near – people who have lived in the Old Town perhaps for 50 years or more but have never stepped inside St Clement’s. When they encounter
Night Church they begin to appreciate what a special place it is and has been for the last 650 years! During the Summer months especially we welcome overseas visitors – we’ve had people from near and far – Japan, The Netherlands, and Germany to name just a few.
Others come because they have suffered a bereavement or family crisis and welcome the opportunity to come into the quiet and pray or simply to light a candle. Everyone who comes in is welcome to talk, or pray with one of our team. In this setting it is not our objective to preach Christianity overtly but inevitably people do sometimes ask questions and wherever possible we try to answer them to the best of our ability.
Our team consists of church members and non-church members who all offer their time voluntarily.
One of the key features of Night Church is that we offer free refreshments – a variety of sandwiches, hot bacon rolls, a piece of cake and a cup of tea or coffee.
We always give a warm welcome and a hot drink to the Hastings Street Pastors who do such valuable work on the streets of Hastings in all weather conditions – Summer or Winter. If necessary, the street pastors can arrange to give out spare blankets and water to those who need them.
Another of the special features of Night Church – which operates from 9 p.m. until Midnight in St Clement’s every third Saturday of the month – is that we do not use any of the lighting systems found in the church. Instead, we have some very special effects lighting in a variety of colours – purple, cream, red, yellow, blue which bounce off not only the pillars of the church but also the walls and ceiling. The result is that the church is bathed in subtle lighting which gives more than enough light for people to walk around the church and soak up the very special atmosphere. We also use120 tea lights which give a warm glowing effect in the church.
St Clement’s Night Church is a very special place. All who help do so because we want to be at the heart of the community – to reach out to people both in Hastings and beyond and to be a place of welcome for all.
We welcome donations of food (sandwiches, cakes, sausage rolls etc) which can be brought to St. Clement’s from 8.00 p.m. onwards on the third Saturday of each month.