Southampton Centre Of Mission

South England

Church Army has had a very long association with Southampton, so it is appropriate that it was one of the first cities in the UK where Church Army developed a centre of mission. Adapting to meet changing needs, its work now includes encouraging and enabling evangelism across the city from a base on the east side. Ruth is based in the Townhill Park area of Southampton, where her focus is supporting and sharing the gospel with families and children.

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Ruth Hills, Lead Evangelist at Southampton CoM, writes:

“The Southampton Centre of Mission has been going through a time of massive change. The lead evangelist is now Ruth Hills, with Claire Lingard, who has moved down from Middlesborough, as the Pioneer. Claire is also involved with Winchester Diocese rolling out Envoy.

We currently run Footsteps, a tots group at Ascension church, on a Monday. We are in the process of setting up a parent support group, in association with SureStart in Townhill Park, at their Family Hub. We have two groups during the week, EDGE Disciples during the day, a wonderfully chaotic group of mums and tots; and EDGE in the evening, for those who prefer a calmer environment. EDGE+ is a fresh expression which meets on a Sunday afternoon at Townhill Park Community Centre, which has just become weekly, rather than fortnightly. We eat together at EDGE+ every week. Whilst these are the ‘events’ in a week, there are also many cups of coffee drunk whilst gossiping the gospel in as many ways as possible.

We had a total of ten baptisms throughout 2022. It is such a joy walking with these delightful people as they discover Jesus. Their honest, raw, unpretentious questions are so refreshing…and challenging!”

“I met a lovely lady called Ella (name changed) one day whilst walking my dog. Her English was poor, she had very low self-esteem and therefore, rarely went out of the house. It has been a delight to see her grow in her confidence and faith. Her English is now fluent, her photography business is growing, as is her confidence in both God and herself. She was one of those baptised.

In December last year, we ran ‘Christmas Presence’ which was an opportunity to bless the community in Townhill Park. We wanted to help those who struggle financially, in a way that gave dignity and choice. We offered families (known and referred through schools) vouchers per child to come and spend in our ‘shop’. Everything in the shop was donated and brand new; we were given money and toys to the value of at least £2,500!”

Please pray for:

  • Please pray for continued opportunities to share God’s love and grace
  • Please pray for a building that we can use in Townhill Park
  • Please pray for the relationship between Claire and I as we learn to work together
  • Please pray for Claire as she works out her role with Envoy and the diocese

Ruth Hills writes:

A lot of what I do is supporting single mums, many of whom have been in abusive relationships and struggle with their self-worth. I work together with Safe Families supporting many of our parents to take care of their children’s needs, to help keep these precious families together.

There’s a mum who we’ve been working alongside for years. I remember the first time she allowed us into her house, which was such an act of trust, and it was horrendous. It was cluttered, dirty, piles of clothes everywhere, dirty dishes on every surface of every room, leaking toilet and smelly.

We went in to clean and support her, but it kept going backwards. At first, we were supporting her to get it into a manageable place which she could maintain. We had a rota of people she trusted to check up on her and assisted her to get into a routine. Sometimes, she’d even take us on a tour of her house by video call.

But in the end, it was all too little, too late, for her to keep her children.

The house is so much better than it was. With no previous knowledge of the situation, most people would be shocked to go into it now, but we can clearly see the difference she has made. She is a carer to her long-term partner who has mental health issues, and it was obvious that she had never been taught how to look after a house.

For me, it’s important that she knows she’s still loved even when social services, by removing her children, have made her feel completely useless.


Ruth Hills, Southampton Centre of Mission

Type of Work

Church groups

Bible Study

Social isolation


Family work

Food distribution

Recreation activities

Evangelists & Leaders

Ruth Hills

Claire Lingard


Diocese of Winchester

Founded in 676AD it is one of the five senior dioceses of the Church of England. The Diocese consists of about two thirds of the County of Hampshire and most of Bournemouth in the County of Dorset, excluding Portsmouth and the area immediately to its north and north-east.

St. Mary’s, Sholing

St. Mary’s, Sholing are a friendly community who offer a place of friendship and belonging to people of all ages and backgrounds.
St. Mary’s, Sholing aim be a diverse church which is fun and attractive; a creative community expressing love in practical ways; a multi-generational family in which people feel they belong.

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