FM article from FRA magazine 2016

‘Frinton Mission’

Although there are doubtless some local residents who have not yet stumbled across Frinton Mission, or FM, in one way or another, there can’t be very many.  Over 100 years ago, so we are told, smartly blazer-ed and boater-ed Oxbridge students moved into Second Avenue’s ‘Ivanhoe’ for four summer weeks, and, both there and on the beach, provided various children’s activities and Bible teaching.  We don’t know about numbers who ran the group, or who attended, but they laid foundations for a children’s ‘mission’ which was to continue well into the 21st century.

Throughout the century, the content and style of what was called CSSM – Churches’ Special Service Mission – adapted with the changing times, gradually encompassing younger children, parents, and all adults, and reducing to two weeks. In 1992, our local churches were invited to take over the organisation of the event, from the national body, Scripture Union, which had nursed it over the years, coordinating teams of up to 80 Christian young people from all over the UK, to come to Frinton to run our local event.  

So from 1993, local churches have worked together to both fund and run what we then chose to call, ‘Frinton Mission.’  Our Christian faith encourages compassion and unity; different churches working together on a shared project, year after year, provides both a good opportunity to work at that unity, and a clear demonstration of what Christianity should be about.

Soon after that, the churches clubbed together to buy the large green and white Marquee, which we are grateful to say annually receives council permission to be erected on the Greensward for ten summer days. Within that, as well as most of the local church buildings, all sorts of teaching and entertainment events take place, provided by a fantastic team of volunteers, many of whom grew up attending FM and learning about Jesus Christ and his teaching there.

Every age-group has age-appropriate activities, ranging from just mornings for the youngest, to morning-noon-and-night for teenagers. ‘Lifeline’ in the Methodist Church draws people to hear deeper Bible-teaching from gifted speakers each morning, while the Marquee holds relaxed café-style mornings with live music, short talks, and buns. Afternoon community events, such as a Tea Dance for residents of many local care homes, and evening entertainment, from comedians, musicians, choirs, and more, also take place in the Marquee. This will be the third year that the Marquee has hosted wonderful shows from Frinton Summer Theatre, as part of their McGrigor Hall summer season. We have thoroughly enjoyed Godspell and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. What will we see this year?

Certain events are ticketed, but most of what is provided is free. We are entirely dependent on gifts from well-wishers and supporters, without which this £25,000 community event would no longer exist.

In recent years, the churches have also shared the task of hand-delivering our FM event brochure to thousands of local homes, inviting anyone and everyone to join with us. Our website, www.frintonmission.net, also provides many details, and is the route by which volunteers sign up, and children can be registered (July 13-27) for their age-group event. This year’s FM dates will be Saturday 30th July to Sunday 7th August.  If you have never been to a Frinton Mission event, please consider yourself invited this year.

Heather Ursell - February 2016