Named the Vision Project, the PCC wanted a church which could be used as a flexible space for services, events, plus functions both for themselves and the community. The process to bring it fruition was not straightforward - there was opposition to change taking place, particularly over the removal of the pews. But in June 2016, a new kitchen, toilets, and a new technical studio at the back of church were installed. The pews were replaced with upholstered, contemporary chairs, and the floor sanded and re-sealed.
Very conscious of integrating the church’s heritage with its reordering, two new items of furniture, amongst others, were made created from wood from the pews and placed in church: a new eight-foot-high cross and a small display table.
After the work on the main building had been completed, the next stage of the plan was to refurbish the church rooms attached to the church. But they found themselves in a dilemma as the young people’s groups (JAM) normally met there during the Sunday morning service. Where could they meet while the work to extend the church rooms was carried out? So to continue their work with families and children, they created a new service to take before the usual Sunday morning service. This informal, contemporary worship service moved at a faster pace. While the adults listened to a talk at the front, the young people initially moved into groups at the back of church.
The young people are now back in the newly completed church rooms but the JAM family service has continued in this format. What they hadn’t anticipated was the success of this new service. In a matter of months, a considerable number of new people were attracted to the church. In fact, numbers of young people have more than doubled to around 70 to 80. Together with adults, there are now regularly about 150 -180 people worshipping at this family-friendly service which lasts aound 45 minutes.
The church hall facilities have been extended to include a coffee bar and people stay after the JAM family service enjoying a cappuccino and a bacon butty to chat.
The original, more traditional style service still attracts around 60-70 people and with the other smaller services, often 250-300 people come to Mossley Hill Church to worship on a Sunday.
Sue Bishop, Events Coordinator at Mossley Hill Church’s Hilltop Centre
“We have already held an Alpha course and started new house groups Since completing the work we have, amongst other things, held a dinner and auction, a ‘Strictly’ themed evening of dance, fun and food, a dinner and awards evening for a charity supporting young people and a fashion show raising funds for a local school is planned this year.
“Community groups, from a preschool nursery, a dance school, art classes and a slimming group also make great use of the revitalised Hilltop Centre. We even have some bread master classes booked in.”
David Bishop, Vision Project Leader added:
“We now not only have a very flexible space for us to worship and hold events but also for the local community to use.
“Our aim this year is to maximise both regular lettings of The Hilltop Centre and the type of events we hire all our spaces out for. So we'd like to use the church space for events like wedding receptions.
Although we’ve not yet been able to complete all our plans due to lack of funds, we are delighted that the church reordering and church room rebuilding has resulted in us being able to open our doors to the community, support small businesses, help local organisations and charities with fundraising events and provide us with a much-needed income stream to sustain us a church in the future.
“All this has followed much thought and prayer and we strongly feel God at work here in Mossley Hill. Our Bigger Church -physically and spiritually - has helped us to make a Bigger Difference.”
Sue.Mitchell, Children and Families Missioner for the Diocese of Liverpool, commented:
“Mossley Hill Church has been one of the longest standing holders of the Diocese’s Child Friendly Church Awards, following its introduction in 2004. And to see the church make significant changes to their building and services which embrace the welcoming of families and young people is such great news. It’s even better when that results in growth of families in the congregation.”
If you’re interested in finding out about the changes Mossley Hill has made to its building and services, then come along on 11th April