The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

New cafe-style church arrives in North Norfolk

BroadGracePeopleWeb2010 : A new style of church has arrived in the villages of Hoveton and Coltishall after a couple from Manchester felt a call from God to relocate to the Broadland area.
John and Felicity Hindley began to consider a move to the county some years ago after seeing the need for more churches that would show the fun, relevance and importance of following Jesus Christ.
John said: “People often get the impression that church is dull, has no impact on their lives and that they won’t understand what is going on anyway. Sometimes we Christians are to blame for this! So, I have moved from Manchester to lead a new church that will explode some of these misconceptions.”
When John and Felicity arrived in Norfolk, it was clear that they were not alone in their vision for the Wroxham area: “The great news for me was finding a group of like-minded Christians who lived locally. Most of them were living in the Horstead area and attending a Church in Norwich. It was amazing to find that both the members and leaders of Surrey Chapel had their own vision for starting a new church in the Wroxham / Hoveton area. When we met and talked it was obvious that God was bringing us together to make this happen.”
The church started meeting in January and is called “BroadGrace” – a twist on words of the good news that God’s grace reaches wide – including the towns and villages of Broadland.
The church is designed to make exploring the Christian faith easier for all who would like to attend – whether it is the time of day, the content or the style of the meeting.
“We meet on a Sunday afternoon at 4pm, usually at the Broadlands Community Centre in Hoveton,” said John. “Feedback showed that Sunday afternoon was a good time for families. There is no rule saying a church has to meet on a Sunday morning. Too often we church leaders expect people to come to us and shrug our shoulders when they don’t.”
It is not just the time of the meeting that has been thought about. The church has also given consideration to the most welcoming and relaxing style for the meeting, basing their time together on a “café-style”.
BroadGraceCakesWeb“We sit around tables so we can get to know each other better. We enjoy good tea, coffee and cakes. We have tried to do everything to make BroadGrace friendly and welcoming for anyone who comes along - whether it is your first visit to church or you have lost count. We always explain what is going on – we will try not to use jargon or old-fashioned language – Jesus is a living God, not a museum piece! We have talks that hit home to real life and we have plenty of opportunities to discuss and ask questions as well as lots of time to chat.”
It is not just adults that are welcomed. A number of families are attending on Sunday afternoons with children enjoying quiz-sheets and colouring, and there are toys for the very young ones. After the meeting has finished (usually at around 6pm), both young and old enjoy time together competing on a Nintendo Wii and playing table tennis.
The church has also given thought to the practicalities for families: “We appreciate that Sunday evenings are busy for families, so we provide a proper meal for the children so that this is one less job for mums and dads when you get home. All this is free,” said John.
BroadGrace has a public launch event planned for Sunday May 16 for local individuals and families who would like to come along and meet us. It will take place at 4pm, at the Broadlands Community Centre in Hoveton.
John and the rest of the church have a clear vision: “We would love BroadGrace to be a church for the sort of people who don’t go to church. We have all found meaning, hope, leadership, welcome, love, glory and truth in Jesus our God. We would love to show you what we have seen, but we won’t assume that you agree with us. Come along, meet us, meet Jesus, and see how we tick – I promise you decent coffee!”
For more details, contact John Hindley on (01603) 737974 or at john@theplant.net

To submit a story or to publicise an event please email: web@networknorwich.co.uk