Our vision for the 21st century – A street level church
Over the past two years the church membership has embarked on a Vision Project to
renew the church’s building and its Christian links with the wider community. A
clear brief has been written to regenerate the building and to make the church more
welcoming and of greater use to the community it serves. Prayer has been at the
heart of the project from its inception.
A brief background
Over the years there have been many conversations concerning the improvement of the
Church fabric to bring it up to date for the 21st century. There has been much personal
and corporate prayer regarding our vision for the future. In an attempt to let
the public know that we’re here, we began opening the Church on some Saturdays and
weekdays. It attracted a steady trickle of people but it also became a venue where
church folk began sharing thoughts and dreams and ideas.
In March 2006 some of us spent a morning praying around the Church which is built
on three levels. It was an enriching experience as we found ourselves singing in
the galleries and sharing thoughts and prayers and scripture. A few months on the
time between Ascension and Pentecost was set aside as a special time of prayer to
seek God’s guidance as to how his Church both the people and the building, could
best be used to share the Gospel. We began on the evening of Ascension Day with
a walk, and a stop en route for worship and some light refreshment. On the following
days leading up to Pentecost the Church was open for an hour each day. In September
2006 the Church meeting agreed to ask Sue Wilkinson (Stewardship Advocate for Lancashire
District) to lead a mission/vision workshop in January 2007.
Many exciting things have happened in between but January 2007 saw all the various
strands coming together. The mission/vision workshop was a source of inspiration.
Also in January, following a meeting with Nigel Rix, a regeneration practitioner,
the minister, secretary and treasurer met to outline a vision of the ‘Street Level
Church.’ Subsequently, Nigel presented a Consultancy Proposal to work with the Church
as a facilitator and advisor to consider how the building could be reshaped in line
with our vision for Christian worship and witness. The vision and proposal were
approved by the elders and presented to the Church the following month following
A ‘Seeing Together’ event was held at the end of April led by Sue Wilkinson with
a parallel event for the young people led by Leo Roberts, the youth and children’s
work officer. Every member, adherent and friend of the Church received a personal
invitation in order to ensure that everyone who wished could be involved. The day
created considerable interest in the future life of our Church and at the end of
the day a paper was circulated suggesting many ways in which people might help support
the Church move forward. There was a good response with people committing to financial
support, fundraising and prayer. People also committed to serving on the Project
Committee, preparing café worship and working for an Eco friendly Church.
Renewing the roof of the Church is the first phase in order for the vision to proceed.
The Whizz Kids were quick to respond with their ‘Raise the Roof’ appeal in September.
To date the fund stands at more than £87.000 pounds. Prayer continues to be at
the heart of the project.
Now in 2009 we are almost ready to begin the journey.