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ChristChurch London heads South of the River

On the second Sunday in January 2016 ChristChurch London will be starting a new Sunday morning service south of the river.

We will be having an exploratory meeting on the evening of June 11 (venue tbc) for anyone who is interested. We will talk more about our plans, take questions and pray together. Then we plan to have monthly mid-week evening meetings in September, October and November to prepare for the launch early in the New Year.

Tim Frisby will be the service leader and he and Jacqui will continue to coach the three Connect Groups that we have in the area. We anticipate that these groups will form the core of the new congregation.

This is the first time that we have done this and inevitably there are lots of questions to be answered so we sat David Stroud down and quizzed him about the plans.

David, this sounds a really exciting venture. Where will the service be located precisely?

We are looking for a venue right now. We’ve drawn a line south of the river, from Oval tube station down to Clapham North tube and we are looking for buildings in that area. We hope to have firm news on a meeting place really soon!

We think the Mermaid is a great venue so why would we want to do a service somewhere else?

We understand that there are some for whom the Mermaid is too far to travel on a weekly basis, particularly those with young families or who want to worship near to where they live. We do not want to exclude people because of where we’re located and we think this will make it easier for many more people to come to church and for us to serve the local community.

What should those who already attend ChristChurch do if they live in the area?

We understand that some will want to attend the new service and even take the opportunity to join one of the new serving teams that we will be setting up. Others may prefer to keep coming to the Mermaid and that is fine by us too.

So the plan is to start a service rather than a church plant: Why is that?

It is to save the leaders having to juggle all the complexities that come with setting up a new church. This way the ChristChurch London team can continue to handle all the legal and financial issues, the IT, communications and lots of other things. They can also lend their expertise on things like worship, children’s work and pastoral support. In other words, this is church planting without the heartache.

Some people have suggested something between a service and a church plant – like a new site with more autonomy to it than a service. Have you given that any thought?

Yes we have: it’s something that has a lot of positives to it. However, we are starting with a service for several reasons:

First we think that my and Tim and Jacqui’s gifts really complement one another and therefore the way to maximise our effectiveness will be to work as a close-knit team.

Second the advice we have received from others who have done this already is, “start with what is easiest. Starting a service is hard enough; don’t make your life even harder in the first instance by trying a site”.

Third, it is what we sense the Spirit is prompting us to do. As we have prayed and heard from others who have been praying too we have had an overwhelming sense that this should be our first step.

So what does that mean for those of us that remain at the Mermaid?

Well we have the exciting privilege of sending some people out to continue the mission that we have been given. It does mean too that many of us will need to fill the shoes of those that go: there will be lots of opportunities to serve – on the children’s teams, the welcome, production and tech teams and so on. We will need to make ourselves available for that!

If you would like to find out more, join us on the evening of June 11 (venue in South Central London, TBC) when we will share about our plans, take questions and pray together.

Image: 012/365 clapham north by David Telford, used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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