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Keeping the Faith – how a reborn Cheshire church is helping to revive a community

North Street Methodist Church, Crewe, opened in 1869. There was a worshipping community on the site until 2012, when it was discovered that the building was structurally unsound, threatening its future.

However, FSB member Geoff Etherton instead saw an exciting new possibility – that the church could start afresh and at the same time continue as a valuable community asset in the third most deprived ward in Cheshire East.

After consulting with local people, ‘What’s Happening on North Street’ soon opened with a coffee shop and facilities hosting a wide range of meetings and events, while still acting as a place of worship.

“We are a new church for the 21st century,” said Geoff. “An old church on the site was demolished and originally the whole site was to be sold for redevelopment - however, the Methodist Church had the idea they could do something new! We opened in September 2015 with a Coffee Shop on site, and having built up networks and relationships with local people and organisations to find out what the local community would like to see.”

New-Church-and-Community-Centre

The congregation at the time was merged with Bradfield Road Methodist Church, only half a mile away, to become Coppenhall Methodist Church. The Bradfield Road site was completely renovated and refurbished.

The land at North Street was sold and 18 social housing apartments are being built to the rear of the land, with a new church and community centre being built at the front.

The new building has become a hub for a range of information, advice, support and activities for the local community, is creating a church from scratch with no congregation or Sunday services, and houses a quality Coffee Shop open six days per week and serving a range of hot & cold drinks, cakes, panini, sandwiches and jacket potatoes.

“This has led to a thriving centre with a Coffee Shop which is busy five days per week, and activities in both the day and evenings, many delivered in partnership and with external funding making these community activities possible and affordable for those who live locally,” added Geoff.

The view of local residents about what else they would like to see in the new centre are being sought via an online survey (www.surveymonkey.com/s/Q6JGPTT)  Find out more at www.whatshappeningonnorthstreet.org and on Facebook.