Norwich churches are on the rise as three of the city's major congregations are launching ambitious building projects to accommodate their expanding congregations.
At a time when many churches across the country are facing decline, Mount Zion Family Life Centre, Oak Grove Chapel and Norwich Central Baptist Church are striving ahead.
With new forward-looking building projects, these three growing churches will not only increase their capacity but they will also allow them to play an even greater role in serving and engaging with their local communities.
It could be easy for Mount Zion Family Life Centre to despair after its old building was destroyed by fire earlier this year. But instead, this church is pressing ahead with plans to build a new centre that will be twice as big and will hold twice as many people as the previous one.
Senior pastor Trevor Pimlott confirmed that the auditorium of the planned building will hold up to 1,500 people and house the church's 27 different ministries, reports Network Norwich.
"We are talking to council planners at the moment," he said. "We are looking at a glass and steel building, similar in some ways to the Forum in Norwich, with a second storey."
Meanwhile, Oak Grove Chapel in Catton Grove will contribute towards the costs of a brand new £350,000 new community hall as part of a partnership with the local.
The innovative scheme will see the church working alongside the new Catton Grove primary school in seeking to develop a 300-seater community hall as part of the new school site.
The church also plans to renovate its existing chapel building and enlarge its successful charity shop while the community hall would be open not just for use by the congregation but also for the wider community on certain days in the week.
Oak Grove senior leader, Ian Savory, said: "This project is about partnership between the school, chapel and other groups. It will give us a venue that can benefit the whole community. The Chapel has been working in this area for 70 years and as such has been proud to be a part of the community, looking at various local issues and encouraging people to also be a part of the wider world. This venue is the next step for us as we grow as a community in confidence and abilities."
And Norwich Central Baptist Church is also bucking the trends of decline across the country, spending almost £900,000 over the last 18 months renovating and refitting the existing church building on Duke Street.
"We want our launch to reflect our church vision of proclaiming the Good News and being a community that is thoroughly grounded in Scripture," explained Rev James East. "NCBC's primary aim is to preach the Gospel, be spirit-led and, ultimately, make Jesus known."
The church is celebrating the completion of the renovations with a week of thanksgiving and celebration from October 7th - 15th with the theme of Making Jesus Known.
Norwich Churches on the Rise
Churches in Norwich are bucking the trend of decline across UK churches as they engage in major building projects that will allow even more spiritually thirsty to gather and share in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Published 23 September 2006