25 April 2019
A member of the congregation drew my attention to an initiative at St. Leonard’s Church, Herefordshire. Twenty-five people worshipped there on a regular basis. When a shop was installed at the west end of the nave things began to change.
The shop in the church is open seven days a week and includes a post office, with a café in the gallery. Obviously, more people were making a connection with the church building and this seemed to draw them into the life of what happened there.
People started to light candles and to pray. Christmas was very popular. Conversations began to happen and people were asking questions about the church and the faith. It all happened in a natural and spontaneous way.
‘It seems to stabilise congregation numbers and weddings and baptisms go up.’ said Becky Payne who has advised the local diocese about turning churches into community hubs. ’People start to see the church as part of their lives.’