New plans afoot for church
Published on: 02 Jun 2014
AMBITIOUS plans are being drawn up to transform the interior of Badminton Road Methodist Church to provide exciting new facilities for families and the community.
The proposals will also enable the creation of a permanent church worship area within the building.
The revamp, which will include play areas and a cafe, follows the phenomenal success of the church's Messy Space and Messy Church activities for children.
A piece of land alongside the church is being sold to pay for the refurbishment.
Jenny Bourne, a family worker at Badminton Road for three years and a member of the leadership group, said the plans were being finalised and it was hoped that work would start soon.
She said: “The church has been well kept and lovingly painted over the years but it is quite an ugly building. It is a vast space and can be soul-less. It does not reflect a loving God.
“This redevelopment will mean we can reach out better to people and meet their needs. Our older church members have welcomed it too, because up to now they have not had a designated worship area.”
Currently, the centre is used as a church on Sundays then everything is packed away so that groups including uniformed organisations and others can use it during the week.
The plans include transparent screens so that the church can operate alongside other activities, sharing the space. It is hoped people will use the centre for parties, meetings and other events.
Messy Space began as a term-time activity for pre-school children and their parents. It continued in the school holidays and parents welcomed the fact they can bring all their children up to age 11 to take part in craft activities.
“It has been phenomenally popular. It takes over the whole building,” Jenny said.
The pre-school sessions are now twice a week, and there are sessions for “bumps and babies” - expectant and new mums.
Messy Church takes place on the third Saturday of every month at teatime and involves Bible-based craft activities, stories, worship and good food.
“It is using what people know. It is creative and active – not a “sitting down” church,” said Jenny.
The church already has a popular Wednesday cafe and the plan is for this to be expanded. Outreach work with schools and consultation with the parish council and the public will inform future proposals.
“We want to show what we believe by what we do rather than what we say, said Jenny. “We want to be a place that welcomes people in. It's about belonging before believing.
“Our church strapline is 'at the heart of the community, with Jesus at the centre'. It's about providing the activities people want, with a church presence.”