Our New Church Building process began in earnest in 2005. The Cowl Street church building was old, tired, and in need of ongoing repairs and significant upgrading. We felt hemmed in, and longed to see God’s blessing flow out to the local community. Moreover, we had held to a number of scripture verses, and words of encouragement that had been brought to us concerning our future. One example would be the prophetic imagination of Isaiah:
‘Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left.’Isaiah 54:2-3
Another, the call to ‘uproot, and to replant in a spacious place for increased fruitfulness.’
We explored a range of options, but always felt that none of them resonated with what God seemed to be saying to us. In the autumn of 2005 we held a season of prayer. As we prayed, we could not have known that God was already answering our prayers. But in early 2006, we heard that a former member of the Church had died bequeathing a four-acre portion of land on the Offenham Road to the Church. God had answered our prayers – in abundance.
We realised that God was calling us to move to a new site and to serve the local community in a new way.
In 2008, following a full survey of the Church family to discern our needs and future possibilities, we appointed architects to design a new building and in 2009 we held a Gift Day where we saw the Holy Spirit inspire wonderful generosity. Planning Permission was granted for the New Church Building, but we could not yet afford to build.
Knowing that God had led us to this point and trusting in Him we have explored various options in the past fifteen years that would allow us to complete this process.
We considered how we might be able to develop a Church and Community centre that would enable us to build upon a tradition of worship that stretches back over two hundred and eighty years, to continue to welcome and work with families, young mums, young people, the elderly and lonely, to develop a community café, and a counselling service, to continue supporting local homeless charities, provide a quiet space for prayer and reflection, and welcome a whole variety of local groups who enhance the local community by their activity.
We journeyed together in this process, through the highs and lows, the obstacles and challenges throughout this time. We can now see the vision we have held for so long come to fruition.
We rejoice at the wonderful opportunity we now have to set the course for the next season in the Church’s life. We sold a portion of the land for affordable housing, which will meet a need in the town, and we pray that the Church and Community Centre will be a blessing for generations to come.