If you want a good example of making buildings part of your mission then you need only look as far as the Rural Ministries partner church of BroadGrace in Norfolk. As building work nears completion Minister John Hindley explains their thinking:
The River Rooms is: "a prominent, white-painted building in the heart of the Norfolk Broads village of Coltishall". The River Rooms is: "a vision for displaying the relational love in the heart of God to the people of Coltishall, Horstead and beyond".
As we have worked over the past few months to renovate and remodel the old Salvation Army Hall into The River Rooms, we have held onto the second of these definitions. Through our 'Go Mad with Dad' mornings and 'Tiddlers', our baby and toddler group, we have been making lots of friends in Horstead and Coltishall. The River Rooms will help us grow these friendships.
BroadGrace has always wanted to be a church that fitted into the local community, showing how Christ is relevant and significant in village life. So it made sense to see our building project as an opportunity to further this vision. We have worked with A Piece of Cake, the popular village coffee shop, and they have already moved into half the building. We are looking to make space available in the other half for 'hot- desking' offices, other local businesses, community groups and charities as well as church use.
We will use most of the building for our Sunday meetings, but the rest of the week it will be a community building, not 'our' building. It will be a shared resource for the village, not our castle! The council of Rural Ministries are working with us to realise this vision, both with assistance in repaying the loans and in expressing a desire to take a large stake in the project in the future. This will allow The River Rooms to be a gospel blessing from the church, rather than simply an asset for the church.
Further updates will be featured in our IMPACT magazine. Read it here.