Community is at the heart of Norwich Revelation centre
A large group of people attended Revelation’s AGM last month to celebrate ten years of the centre and hear about how it has developed into a nurturing community in its own right.
The atmosphere was less formal constitutional meeting and more friends meeting for coffee, as around 20 people gathered at the Christian resource centre cafe to discuss the current position of the centre.
Chair of Trustees Philip Talbot pointed out that Revelation is unique – there are not many Christian resource centres in the UK, and they are especially lacking in large cities. Norwich is very privileged to have one. “Here we’ve got a beautiful building, a warm welcome...it’s really something to marvel. We stand out from the rest.” He said, although it is a deconsecrated church, a lot of ministry happens. It’s a special place for the community that uses it.
Revelation has struggled financially over the years and although it is in a much more healthy position now, there is no room for complacency: survival continues to be an effort in the commercial world of bookselling and the growing number of city centre cafes.
The balance between operating as a business and raising money from donors has been sensibly managed. The generous supporters of Revelation were thanked, as their financial backing is vital to sustain the centre. 25 people took part in the annual sponsored April Amble, which raised £6,000 for the centre.
Revelation is ten years old this year, and Centre Manager Steve Foyster, along with his loyal staff, has worked hard to build a solid base for the resource centre to not only supply literature, but to build a thriving and open community.
The bookshop stocks an eclectic selection of titles as well as a wide range of second hand titles. Numerous successful events have been held over the years, including a sit-down meal for 80 people with General Lord Dannatt, a book signing with author Salley Vickers and an evening with former hostage Terry Waite.
Many people who have experienced heartache in their lives have been strengthened by belonging to the community at Revelation. It is a non-judgemental place where people are made to feel welcome – from the Big Issue seller nearby who pops in to use the loo to a volunteer whose time at Revelation has allowed them to flourish. Steve said, “People who have come from very broken places have been able to realise their potential at Revelation. What goes on here is so very worthwhile....more than selling books and cups of coffee. A lot of people have found support here.”
Steve spoke about the highs, lows, trials and joys of being the centre manager, especially during difficult times of recession but also incredible answers to prayer. He said, “God’s timing when you’re really up against it is pretty immaculate.”
Steve touched upon humorous moments – such as when people come in asking ‘is this the Cathedral’? and when told it’s not, they persist ‘are you sure?!’ Steve joked, “I just charge them £3 and show them round!”