New Norfolk church plant is starting to grow
2010: A new church has been planted and is starting to grow in a Norfolk town with the help of Facebook, some puppets and young people engaged in social action. Its leader, Nigel Worth, reports on progress so far.
Thetford – a middle-sized town with a population of around 25,000 on the southern tip of Norfolk. These days all sorts of people live in the town – those with roots in East Anglia, London, Portugal and Eastern Europe being the main people groups. There is simply lots of room for a new church to be planted which cuts across all the social, economic and ethnic barriers in the town and reflects the identity of the people of God as being now “one new man in Christ” (Ephesians 2:15).
That is the vision that Glenda and I (pictured above) are running with as we begin to put into place the first bricks of this venture. We were asked by the regional leadership of New Frontiers to consider a move to Thetford in September 2008. It was understood that such a move would not be immediate as we live in Braintree and our son had just started his “A” level studies locally. We jumped at the opportunity – it’s time for some adventure!
A start has been made. The first thing was to put the other Thetford church leaders in the picture. This we’ve done, stressing that our aim is to complement and add to the mission that is already happening in the town. And the other leaders have been most gracious in their welcome although, quite rightly, asking some keen questions as to our motives and intentions (quite honourable!). We look forward to further fellowship together going forwards.
Then for a week in August of 2009, we had a glimpse of all that God could do and, we trust, plans to do in the town when we enjoyed the benefit of having NewDay, the annual New Frontiers youth festival, gathering on our doorstep at the Norfolk Showground.
Red-shirted teenagers descended on the town for four afternoons around the puppet and street theatre, giving out balloons, filling in questionnaires and praying for people who requested prayer. As reports began to filter back of one or two clear healings on the streets, we began to sense the favour of God on our endeavours.
Although Glenda and I are still commuting from Braintree, our co-planters Dan
and Annette Morgan
(right), well known amongst ecclesiastical circles in East Anglia, do own a property in the town. So we’ve been able to make a start in gathering people to our vision as every Tuesday evening we meet as a home group in their cottage.
Once a month we’re spending Sundays together, eating and going out walking in the town and surrounding forest. Numbers are only around a dozen at present if everyone comes but its early days yet and we expect some growth as the weather improves and we’re able to get out and meet more people.
The plans for this year, as they unfold, will be posted onto our website www.thetfordchurchplant.com
. On March 27
we’re holding a barn dance in the Large Court of the Thetford Guildhall.
I’ll be calling and ensuring a fun evening is enjoyed by all! We’re hoping to hold a Family Fun Day one Saturday afternoon in the summer and then over the period 11-16 August we’ll have the return of the Newday T-shirt brigade to bring more blessing to the town! We’ll start to hold regular Sunday meetings from October onwards.
Towards the end of the year Glenda and I will be saying goodbye to our church and friends in Braintree and moving to Thetford. And then the adventure really begins – what will happen? What sort of people will be attracted to our new church? Answer: those whom God loves and intends to reach and bless. For us this is simply authentic Christianity, following Christ wherever he leads, always out of the comfort zone!
Obviously, anyone out there feeling stirred to join the party, then please click onto the website and get in touch! Would love to have you along.