Monday, June 18, 2007

A tale of two churches

In a particular part of Coventry, there are two churches along a short section of road in an area with a high percentage of ethnic minorities.

Church A decided a few years ago that it wanted to buy a new building. Somewhere along the line a difficult decision was taken. This was that in order to build money would need to be obtained from various development grants.

The result is that the church has a shared building. In the lobby is a cafe. There is a community nursery, two classrooms for teaching English to people who need to improve. A computer classroom. The body of the church is regularly hired out to community groups for various events, classes, talks, social activities and the like.

On the wall is a quote from Shawshank Redemption. Yes, you heard me correctly. A quote from Mr S King - the famous horror writer - sits comfortably alongside similarly painted bible verses.

The church, of which the congregation amounts to around 100 people, is closely involved in the organisation which runs the building - and members regularly volunteer and run low key outreach events in the community in different ways. A staggering 38 people work for this organisation. An organisation that would never have existed if a church had not decided to stick its' neck out and force itself to be involved in the community and face the consequences.

As if to underline the difficulties, I was told that there is some conflict between the church and other groups who want to use the building.

But the main impression is of light and hope. The building projects the idea that church is in community, is involved, is open and ready to serve.

Church B has a large privet hedge around 75% of the circumference of the building, shielding the windows from prying eyes. A 6 foot gate barrs the entrance with an obvious coil of barbed wire around the top of it. The overall impression is of a community under siege.

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Blogger Karin said...

What church A has done seems to becoming more and more popular, which seems like a good thing. How sad for churh B - sounds like any light it might have had is hidden, if not totally extinguished by a bushel.

5:25 AM  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi Joe,

Wow, what a difference between Church A and Church B...

I reposted this entry on our ChurchRater blog

A tale of two churches

I hope that's ok.

10:01 AM  

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