Growing Norwich church looks for venue for 500
By Keith Morris
2009: A Norwich
church is growing so fast that it currently holds three Sunday services and is looking for a new building to seat 500 people and then to build a convention centre to seat up to 2,000.
The Proclaimers Church yesterday released their annual report, announcing 33% growth in average attendance at Sunday services for 2008, with the pattern continuing in 2009. The church currently holds three services every weekend at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel and is now actively engaged in the search for larger premises.
A building fund which will raise £250,000 in the next two years will help secure the funds for purchasing or leasing a dedicated conference and events centre which would provide a suitable place for the church’s regular services and other community activities as well as provide conferencing facilities for other businesses and organisations in the city.
“Healthy things grow,” said Senior Minister Tom Rawls. “We believe that what we have here is healthy but more than that, it is exciting and engaging; people love being a part of it.”
“We believe that people of all ages have been attracted to attend the church because of our accessible preaching, professional presentation and the friendly environment which starts the moment you arrive in the car park, as hosts in brightly coloured t-shirts usher guests into the City Suite of the Ramada Jarvis Hotel.”
Associate Pastor Owen Morgan
said “We’re growing because people are having fun and enjoying church, but more than that, because people are realising that there is more to life.”
In the last 12 months, Proclaimers have seen nearly 150 people respond to an invitation to become a Christian for the first time. The rapid growth in the congregation means that the church now has three services every Sunday and is preparing to add a fourth. But the long term plan is to find another venue.
“We have looked all over the city for larger venues to hold our services in but we haven’t found anything suitable so it looks like we will have to make our own” said Owen Morgan, who is taking responsibility for finding new premises to hold weekend services and regular events.
He added: “The next step will probably be to rent or lease a warehouse that we can convert to seat 500 people along with provision for the growing kids programme for 0-13 year olds and a room for a nice big foyer and plenty of parking.
“The church’s long term plan is to build a specially designed Convention Centre housing an auditorium to seat 1500-2000 people: the largest of its kind in the whole county. Norfolk and in particular Norwich, is under-resourced when it comes to accommodating large conferences and events. The centre would also have lots of breakout space and room to continue with the ongoing youth and community projects that have contributed heavily to the church’s success.”