New vision, new season – and a new building
Hope House Church in Barnsley started life as a new church plant in the town in 1981, led by Dennis and Sue Bavister. The church grew and eventually took over an old Methodist building in the town centre from where the church flourished through local outreach, establishment of a Christian school and creation of overseas mission activity in the Czech Republic.
The millennium came and went and as some of the congregation moved away, numbers dropped a little and leadership passed to Paul Bedford. Through connections with Stuart Bell and the Ground Level network Paul set about re-envisioning the church and created a fresh sense of community relaunching the Church almost as a new Church plant as Hope House Church in 2009.
Paul takes up the story: “It became apparent that despite all we did, the old building no longer suited our need and the school was no longer thriving and was eventually closed.”
“Six years ago we began to look for a new location. We felt like a city centre church so that would be a challenge. Hiring the local cinema for a couple of years helped the congregation catch the vision for moving buildings and raised the profile of the church.”
“Then four years ago, a large 2000-capacity nightclub came onto the market in the town centre. We’d seen it years before and dreamed. However, this time with some ‘interesting’ negotiations, faith, massive commitment from the congregation and incredible support and wisdom from Kingdom Bank we were able to step up and buy.”
“We approached Kingdom Bank as we recognised that they were more than just a Bank, with a genuine care for the local church and Kingdom. They held our values and were also highly professional while remaining approachable.”
“We view them as our partners more than our bankers as it was their belief and encouragement that has released so much to the life of the church.”
Hope House is now thriving as ‘a church for the unchurched’, with a growing diverse congregation and strong links to the community.