New warehouse home for large Norwich church
By Keith Morris
2010: A large Norwich
church has found a new home in a spacious industrial unit, just days after it was forced to leave the former MFI furniture warehouse, which had been sold to a retail firm.
Norwich Family Life Church will from Sunday (May 23) be based in former industrial premises on Mason Road in the north of the city, next to the Hughes electrical store. The church will be applying for change of use planning permission and, if granted, will look to buy the building and adapt it for their own use for several years.
But, according to Associate Pastor, Kingsley Armstrong, the main aim of the church is still to return to its Heartsease roots, a location it left four years ago following a devastating arson attack which burnt the former Mount Zion Family Life Centre to the ground.
“The Mason Road premises only came onto the market two months ago,” said Kingsley, “but for us it is a wonderful building as there is room for everything we do. It could hold 1000 people but we will probably divide it up into a smaller hall that can accommodate our Sunday services, plus our Wildlife youth club and all of our children’s work as well.
“We had to leave the MFI building on Wednesday and we will be straight into Mason Road on Sunday for our 10am service,” said Kingsley.
“We are very excited about it and our people have been very faithful and flexible throughout the whole process. We have been offered spaces by lots of other churches but it would have been a piecemeal solution. This building solves all of our issues and enables us to keep everyone together and grow the church together. It has existing office space which has even recently been redecorated.
“We have talked to local churches, including Oak Grove Chapel which is close by, and they are absolutely fine with it.
“I think Norwich is fantastic the way that different churches work together and there is not the slightest sense of competition.”www.nflc.org.uk Pictured above are some of the NFLC team outside the Mason Road building and also an aerial view.
Norwich church on move as warehouse bid fails
By Keith Morris
Four years after a devastating fire burnt their building to the ground, a large Norwich
church has faced another blow with news that they have failed in their bid to buy a large ex-furniture warehouse in the city and have just eight weeks to find another new home.
The building is now to be sold by administrators for the furniture chain to another buyer for a larger amount than NFLC were offering.
Associate pastor, Kingsley Armstrong, said the church and its leadership were disappointed at the news. They had plans to construct a 1200-seater sanctuary, offices, conference rooms, a restaurant and public café, as well as facilities for the wide-ranging school and youth work that the church undertakes.
“We were surprised when we were turned down, but the administrators had an obligation to take the highest offer,” said Kingsley.
“Now we have just eight weeks from when the contract is signed to move out and we are looking at hotels, schools and halls for the various meetings that we hold every week. But we will not be able to hold them all in the same premises. We will probably go to a hotel for our main Sunday meetings.
“If any other Norwich churches have suitable premises, especially for our 60-strong Wildlife youth club on a Friday evening, we would be very interested in talking to them,” he said.
Going back to the original church site (pictured right during the fire in 2006) on the Heartsease estate is still an option for the 300-strong congregation, said Kingsley: “To be honest our people are getting tired and battle-weary and if you asked them, many would like to go back to Heartsease. We have had our plans there turned town by city planners and would have to rejig them to a smaller building than we would like, but it is still an option.”