Growing city church moves to bigger venue
A Norwich church is growing so fast that it has had to find a bigger venue for its expanding congregation.
Meadow Way Chapel, Hellesdon, regularly has 140 to 150 people at the chapel's weekly family service on Sundays and despite several extensions to the building elder David Southgate and the deacons of the chapel have been forced to find an alternative venue for the popular service which has outgrown the current site.
On Sunday (February 3) the service was held for the first time at the Hellesdon Community Centre, off Middleton's Lane, which lends itself more readily to larger groups.
“We've been looking to extend the church - we've done that several times, but we just felt the way forward at the moment would be to use the community centre,” he said.
“If we outgrow that then that's another thing. We will have to look at it again.”
Mr Southgate, 67, a former builder who also owns the Cards and Things shop in Hellesdon, said he was delighted to have attracted so many people.
“We're very pleased,” said the father-of-four and grandfather of eight. “It's marvellous how its going when you read about churches dying and less people going to church. To a certain extent some are, but believe this is the way forward.
“I think really the whole thing is we try and gear it for the whole family - it's making the church relevant. Children take part in the first part, there might be a bit of drama, and we have a sermon near the end.
“Some people's ideas of church are that its all dull and boring, but people are finding out its far from the case. It's quite a lively service - we have a band with a drum kit.”
It is all a far cry from when the church was founded back in 1971, after a series of special services for children held in a marquee put up on land in Meadow Way, Hellesdon which is now the entrance to Chapel Court.
“When we first started there would have been a couple of dozen or something like that,” said Mr Southgate.
The site of the present chapel was bought and the first phase of the building was installed, mostly through a self-help scheme by the early members.
It was opened on April 6 1974 but has been expanded with several extensions over the years to cater for various other activities as the membership of the church has grown.
The church is self-governing but has close links with other churches. It is evangelical, seeking to share the good news of the Christian faith in the local community.
Article and picture courtesy of www.eveningnews24.co.uk