The ‘Bubble Church’ at Ascension in Balham, launched under lockdown in October 2020, takes its name from the socially distanced ‘bubbles’ in which parents and children gathered for the new church.
The Sunday morning congregation now attracts around 80 parents and children every week for worship, prayer and Bible stories and a craft activity for the whole family.
It has been so popular that the number of baptisms of babies and children at Ascension has tripled from an average of five, to 10 last year and 15 due to take place this year.
The success of the church has also helped other areas of church life – the Sunday school at the church’s 1030 service has grown with children who used to attend Bubble Church and a new mid-week group has been formed by ‘Bubble Church’ parents – the majority of whom were not previously churchgoers - to study the Bible and pray.
Vicar Marcus Gibbs said: “There are lots of young families in Balham, most of whom have no connection with church, and Bubble Church was our experiment to see if we could connect with them.
"It uses a simple formula and allows everyone regardless of their knowledge of the Christian faith to join and learn together. We thank God for the success of Bubble Church and hope that we may see this successfully adopted in other churches."
The Bubble church formula will now be expanded to five other churches in Southwark Diocese with help from a £250,000 Innovation Funding grant from the Church of England.