A NEW drive to fill a gap in the community is forging ahead at Headless Cross – with amazing results.
At its heart is The Bridge – St Lukes Church – where Methodists and Anglicans have united to offer not just a place of worship, but a cafe, concert hall, meeting rooms and even a cinema club – and much more.
“It’s not about putting bums on seats, it’s about us providing a service to the community,” said Maureen Brown, a community and outreach lay worker.
“It’s about trying to do some joined up thinking, about trying to make a difference to people’s lives.”
Recent successes include a sell-out gig by Redditch Rock Choir and a stunning concert by national folk rock heroes Gigspanner, while last week the church hall was used as a collection point for clothes and toys donated to help refugees.
The Church, used by both Methodists and Church of England followers, has also seen a revival in attendance after years of steady decline.
“We closed the (now demolished) Methodist Church in Headless Cross and formed a Local Ecumenical Partnership with St Lukes,” said Maureen.
“We looked at how we could move things forward – the aim was to really put the church at the heart of the community – and instead of us working separately it made sense for one church to do everything.”
And that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Money from the sale of the old methodist church has gone towards buying 71 Evesham Road, between the church and the memorial hall, with the aim of converting it into meeting rooms while a grant from Veolia is being spent on extending the hall itself.
The spiritual world is catered for too: “On Sundays at 10.30am you can worship in the Church or you can go to the memorial hall to the Cafe Church with a live band, which is where most families tend to go,” said Maureen.
There’s a ‘Messy Church’ once a month with lots of activities planned for the community. Also being developed are a free family cinema for the school holidays, as well as outreach work.
“There are people out there who are lonely and isolated, and it’s not just financial deprivation but social too,” said Maureen.
“Our aim is to provide somewhere that is open and accessible where people feel safe and where there is something going on every day.”
The Bridge will be runny a free hospitality tent offering tea, cake and coffee at the Headless Cross May Day on the Green festival on Bank Holiday Monday, May 2.