Norwich church reveals plans for new Chapel
By Keith Morris
2010: A thriving Norwich
evangelical church hopes to move into a new 300-capacity Chapel next year, as part of the £100m regeneration plans for the Anglia Square
shopping centre, and increase its community engagement at the same time.
Surrey Chapel on Botolph Street, and its 250-strong congregation, will be moving to a larger new purpose-built building in Edward Street if the relocation is agreed by planners at City Hall.
The new two-storey Chapel will have a vaulted auditorium upstairs to seat 288 people with meeting rooms, crèche, youth room and offices downstairs, according to Philip MacDonald, who is leading the project for Surrey Chapel.
Subject to valuation, final agreement and planning consent, around 90% of the costs will be met by the Anglia Square developers, who will construct the new Chapel building. In return they will acquire the current church site for demolition and development. Surrey Chapel will cover the balance of the costs.
Senior pastor, Tom Chapman, said the church is looking forward to the move from the current location, which was not designed as a place of worship: “A chapel is just bricks and mortar, of course - mere scaffolding for the real building, the people.
“But we do see this as a God-given development. It will refresh our presently shabby outward appearance and enlarge our presently limited scope to engage with the community. I look forward to that, but not as much as I look forward to God refreshing our hearts and empowering our lives by his Spirit.”
The new building will accommodate a larger congregation and also all the groups which currently use it, including toddler groups, youth activities and art classes. It is also popular with students who attend Sunday services in large numbers.
Long-standing church elder, Dr Derek Haylock, said: “We have taken the opportunity of the Anglia Square development to expand. We hope to be in there in a year. Even though the current building has served us well, the move is a great opportunity for Surrey Chapel.”
There should be no disruption to services and groups during the proposed move.
In 2004, Surrey Chapel celebrated its 150th anniversary. It was founded in 1854 by Robert Govett in a purpose-built Victorian chapel off Surrey Street which is now the site of the John Lewis car park. The church was originally called Ebenezer Chapel and then Surrey Street Chapel.
Pictured above are architect's drawings of the proposed new Chapel.