A Community Hub
Emmanuel Church in Northwich, Cheshire meets in a building that’s dour and dated. It’s not very practical and now the church is outgrowing it. So they’re building a new one. Phil Topham has been speaking to the pastor about the exciting plans for this £1m-plus project.
The building where Emmanuel Church meets isn’t very old by architectural standards. But it’s quickly becoming impractical for this growing church.
Built in 1979, the single main hall is very limited and chairs are being packed into every bit of available space on a Sunday morning. It’s also at the age where things need repairing.
So the church is planning a radical change.
“The church has grown, and so has our vision,” says pastor Dyfan Williams. “We got to the point where we needed to look at updating the building but the question was: should we spend a lot of money on what we’ve already got or is it worth us starting again?”
The church is based on the edge of Leftwich housing estate, Northwich, and is the only local community building. Cheshire West and Chester Council runs its weekly youth club at Emmanuel and this got the church thinking. Could they develop this relationship with the Council and work together on a brand new building for the church and community?
Conversations began in earnest in 2014 and now there is outline planning permission for a brand new building on a piece of land on the edge of their housing estate. The Council will rent the land to Emmanuel on a peppercorn lease and work can now begin on new facilities which are expected to cost over £1m.
“The land we plan to build on is in a much more prominent location than our current building and the Council is really supportive of what we want to do.
“I think it ticks a number of their boxes because we are providing resources for the community with our toddler group, our kids’ club and our ‘Senior Moments’ group for older people. We have just started a foodbank and will continue with that, while the Council will move its youth club to our new building too.
“We plan to open a community café and we would love the building to be used for other community activities such as Slimming World and Alzheimer’s Support. There is nowhere locally for people to hire a venue for things like children’s parties and the like so we will make it available for an affordable price. Potentially it will allow us to run more than one ministry simultaneously.”
The church has held consultations with the local community about the plans and while some are adamant they don’t want a new church building, most of the feedback has been extremely positive and now the church is starting to raise the money they need to make this a reality.
“We need to raise as much money as we can this year before hopefully starting work on the project next year,” Dyfan said. “We are pressing ahead with applications to Trust Funds and also working hard to raise money amongst our membership and congregation. We’ve been encouraged every step of the way – especially as the plans were submitted in February and approved by late May.”
Emmanuel Church hopes that the new building will help them to continue expanding their ministries and spread the good news of Christ. You can find out more about the project on their website.