From our beginning in the year 2000 we have had to gather to worship in a number of locations. We started off in the Athenaeum then quickly moved to the Corn Exchange (before its conversion) before settling for a few years in St Louis Middle School. As we gathered people and grew we moved to St James Middle School in 2005. As people joined us and we saw the space filling up we moved, in 2009, to the largest space we could find in Bury St Edmunds that allowed for a Sunday worship meeting with adjoining rooms for our children and youth to meet; King Edward VI School’s lower hall. We are still there on Sunday mornings – do come and join us.
Why A Home Of Our Own?
-A bigger and better Sunday venue to help us gather-
-Increased capacity with room to grow-
-Legacy; a permanent base on which to build-
-Opportunity to expand ministry options-
-A more visible community presence-
We want to continue to build a vibrant, lively community of people who are passionate about knowing Jesus and making him known. We are thankful to God for lives changed, families healed, visions cast, dreams realised and churches planted. It has always been our heart’s desire to do all this in a home of our own; our own space for Sunday worship gatherings and facilities for the rest of the week. In 2016 this opportunity arose.
What has happened?
In 2016 God led us to a warehouse and office at 28 Northern Way, leading us to an opportunity to increase our impact and influence our local community. We invited everyone in church to consider this and to consider investing in God’s kingdom in this way. We asked for pledges and gifts to see if we could purchase the building and refurbish the warehouse and office block. There was an overwhelming “Yes!” as we had pledges enough to buy the building and make a start on refurbishment. Throughout 2016 we applied for planning permission to convert the building into a place of worship. Eventually we got a “Yes” for that too, so we embarked on buying the building.
Over 2016 and 2017 there was much work to do to apply for planning permission to convert the warehouse and office into a place of worship. Once planning permission was obtained we were able to go ahead with the purchase process and in May 2017 we got the keys to Northern Way.
Over 2017 and into 2018 we started drawing up architectural plans and designs and investigating how best to use the warehouse space and the office block to see our dreams for our church and community come alive. By summer of 2017 we had also sold our previous mid-week office building which was a huge benefit in adding to our available funds for refurbishment. In the photo above you can see on the right hand side a mezzanine floor (with red railings) that also added to our funds after we sold it on an online auction site.
We moved into the office block in August 2017 and have been able to use the office space and the meeting rooms for small groups, leaders’ meetings and worship and prayer occasions. We also run our “Storehouse” foodbank from here.
As the winter of 2017 approached we fixed the leaky warehouse roof and added insulation.
The warehouse cleared, roof fixed, site-enabling works completed and now ready for the main structural work to commence:
Throughout 2018 we finalised the architectural plans and completed the detailed designs before sending out for tender and quotation. The warehouse is sectioned into three distinct areas; a worship space that can accommodate 150-350 people; an arrival, mixing and hospitality area; and a two-storey section to contain seven multi-use meeting rooms plus a reception area with small kitchen and children’s toilets. On Sundays the two-storey area will be used for our children’s and youth ministries, but mid-week the rooms will be available for our many different ministries.
A vital part of our focus is to convert the old kitchen and toilets into a modern, warm and welcoming facility. A modern kitchen to be able to provide for our mid-week outreach and service opportunities as well as for Sunday services. New male and female toilets along with disabled accessible toilet and baby changing will be a huge help.