The St. Peters Journey So Far…
When we were first married, Rich and I lived along Storer Road for 5 years before we moved to our present house on Toothill Road. That meant I walked past St. Peter's church building everyday, twice a day, on the way to the Open Heaven offices and back. At the time there was a small and dwindling congregation there, who had stopped meeting in the main church building on Sundays as there were so few of them and were now meeting in a circle of chairs in the side chapel.
I remember praying that God would ‘bring the building back to life’ and imagined a day when it was packed out on Sundays and used all week long to serve the community and bring God much glory. During the 5 years we lived there, Rich and I were also struck by the changes in demographics we witnessed – the student population in the golden triangle went from 35% to 77%. This had become ‘Campus in town’. I remember thinking that when we got to the point of needing a building, this would be the only area in town we’d want to go for...
Just before we moved out of Storer Road, the vicar of St. Peters retired and in summer 04 we heard that St. Peters church building might become ‘redundant’ and therefore become available to others. So, in September 04 Rich and I put our dreams and vision on paper and wrote a document about how St. Peters could be used and distributed it to the rest of townwide leaders. We had lots of vision but no finance to go alongside it!
Paul Stevens, the leader of Elim, liked what we’d written and suggested a joint bid with Elim might bring together different strengths and make a viable proposal. This sat really well with us as the track record of working with Elim had long been established and we already used their building for almost everything apart from Sunday gatherings! We also liked the way it would model ‘partnership’ across the Church of Loughborough and ensure that the building would be used all day every day with our combined activities.
In November 05 it was confirmed that St. Peters was to be made redundant and the Anglican church made a great decision that they wanted the building to go to another church and not be sold on the open market. They invited anyone interested in St. Peters to submit a proposal.
In December 05 Elim and Open Heaven submitted their joint proposal, along with a couple of other churches. Over the last two years, as we’ve waited to hear the outcome, we’ve continued to grow and develop and the limitation of using other venues has become more and more apparent. We can no longer do our sit down Christmas meal as a whole church, as there isn’t a venue big enough and equipped enough to cook for 200+ people. OH2 is now regularly seeing about 60 people coming along to 64 Beacon Road and it will not be too long before we will outgrow that lounge, and so on.
Using Elim, New Springs, Baxtergate Baptist etc. is hugely appreciated but the time and physical effort required to transport, set up and clear down every event we hold is pretty exhausting. After nearly 15 years of setting up and taking down everything we do, it would be brilliant to turn up to a purpose built, ready to use venue that we could call our own.
After waiting almost 2 years, we finally heard last month that the next stage was to be a ‘sealed bid’ on Oct 26th, where all those interested in St. Peters were to put a bid in. As the deadline approached, the leaders of those churches interested in St. Peter's arranged to meet up and there followed a fantastic, honest, God-honouring conversation that resulted in two of the churches agreeing to pull out of the bid as they heard the heart and vision expressed by the others. That left 2 bids – 1 being our joint bid with Elim – which we put in. We have not heard yet, but there is now obviously a good chance of St. Peters becoming ours as a shared venue with Elim.
If we get it, it will be a huge step up for us and it will involve a lot of hard work and fundraising, but a whole lot of fun and faith to see that building transformed. If we don't, then at least we'll know that the building will be used to glorify God, and that he has something better for us somewhere down the line.
Posted by: Ness Wilson on Sunday Nov 18th, 2007
- Phil and Tracey Simcock writes:
Very exciting to hear how this initial dream has developed - will be prayng for you at this signficant time in the history of OH.
...left on Tuesday Nov 20th, 2007
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