King's bring empty Norwich church back to life 

Life is set to be breathed back into St Peter's Church on Park Lane in Norwich just a few weeks after its previous Methodist congregation left to join together with Jessopp Road URC to form a new local ecumenical project. Keith Morris reports.

King's Community Church is set to launch its third site on Easter Sunday, April 20, at St Peter's, as the next step in its vision to "build a church of 1000+ followers of Jesus, serving the city through multiple ministries in multiple locations".
The new City West site will be led by Steve Hope and a team from King's, who will be joined by around 70 members from their City Centre site on King Street in Norwich. They plan to hold a regular Sunday afternoon service at St Peter's from 3-5pm, starting on Easter Sunday.
Steve, who is also a project manager for a TV company, has been on staff part-time at the King's Centre for the last three years helping with the conferencing and business side of the venue.
Steve explained: "The service will be suitable for all ages, including families with children. It is not just aimed at those of student age.
"King's is one church in multiple locations currently meeting in the city centre at 10am, at Mile Cross at 11am, and now at St Peter's on Sunday afternoons. The same message will be preached at all three services.
"Doing church in this way enables us to have different   services while drawing on the resources of one church. At City West we will have all the back-up and experience of the whole King's team so we won't be doing it all by ourselves.
"We aim to engage with the communities in the different locations we meet in. At City West the Who Cares? initiative will be key, working alongside other local churches. At this stage we have no plans beyond that but we will be looking at how we can serve the local community."
On a typical Sunday, King's sees about 500 people attend its various services and counts its membership at around 450.
"We will hopefully be taking 70-100 with us to City West on a Sunday which will also create space at our King Street venue for more visitors," said Steve. "It can get pretty full on some Sundays during the year there. It will also be an opportunity for other leaders to emerge and be released into serving."
"We were already looking for a new venue in the city when St Peter's became available," explained Steve. "Mile Cross has been going for five years now and numbers are around 100 with good links to the local community and council.
"City West already has Small Groups in the local area and we would hope to grow them as people join us for the journey.
"The Methodist church have been very hospitable and offered us the hire of the main church and hall on a Sunday," said Steve. "I think that they are pleased that it will continue to be used for worship."
The Methodist congregation has now joined with the United Reformed Church congregation at the nearby Jessopp Road after working with them for several years on various projects including an annual May Day family event in Heigham Park.
Margaret Culley explained: "We have also been working alongside St Thomas' and St Anne's Heigham on the May Day event. Over the years it has grown and is eagerly anticipated by local families who have   come to expect a day of fun and entertainment for all ages.

"This year the event will take place on Bank Holiday Monday, May 5, from 11am until 4pm and everybody is welcome."
Pictured above is Steve Hope outside the former St Peter’s Methodist Church.
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