On Thursday January 5th St Paul’s Church were thrilled to be re-opening their community café after a long period of closure due to a kitchen refurbishment.
Back in October their regular café closed as work began on removing the old kitchen, replacing it with a new modern facility. Through the planning of the new kitchen, they were able to enlarge the space by expanding into a ‘dead space’ adjacent to the old kitchen.
The new kitchen refurbishment was made possible through the incredible generosity of one individual who donated £50,000 for the express purpose of a kitchen rebuild to secure the ongoing work of the Kingdom of God.
The new facility will help the church cater for church events and enquiry courses such as Alpha and Christianity Explored as well as support regular conversations about Jesus and the difference He makes. The space is also used for external groups that already utilise the church space. These groups include:
- Barbara Rose Christian Pre-School, where the church will offer a cafe space over pick up and drop off times.
- a childminders group who come in on a weekly basis to provide a social opportunity for the adults and children
- uniformed organisations (Rainbows, Brownies and Guides) and the local Women’s Institute (Stour Power) meet on the premises once a month
- local PCSO’s – a chance for the community to meet and talk
- a food bank collection point and can signpost people to other essential services such as debt advice and support from one of the church’s mission partners, Faithworks.
The new kitchen also allows them to continue to offer a warm space to their community that offers a chance to connect and find support.
The cafe has come into its own as a venue for one-to-one evangelism, utilising a particular resource called ‘The Word 1 to 1’. This is a resource that encourages Christians to meet with one other person and talk them through the Gospel of John. The resource takes the fear out of evangelism as it presents the gospel with explanatory notes in manageable ‘episodes’, like a tv box set! The cafe environment provides an excellent environment for such conversations.
It was our great pleasure to welcome Harry and Sandra Redknapp to come and officially declare the new facility open. Harry offered some words of encouragement about the café and its work, his regret at having mentioned jam roly poly when he was a contestant on ‘I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here’ and he and Sandra spent time chatting with all who had turned out for the re-opening. We were so grateful for his visit.
The difference that the new facility has made is already immense.The Reverend Jim Findlay
People can find a warm space at St Paul’s café on Tuesday and Thursday mornings (8:45 – midday) and on a Wednesday afternoon (1 til 4 pm). This kitchen is staffed entirely by volunteers from the church, all of whom have been trained in food hygiene and safety, and are willing to offer friendly service and listening ears.
The kitchen now serves tea, coffee, hot chocolate, homemade cakes and bacon rolls.
Find out more about other warm spaces in the diocese here.