How a prisoner of war hut became one of the smallest churches in city

Mount Mizar Church, Larkman Lane. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Mount Mizar Church, Larkman Lane. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

Sitting behind a chain link fence on a Norwich housing estate, it might not look like the most inviting place of worship.

Rev John A Chester speaking to the congregation at Mount Mizar Church, Larkman Lane. PICTURE: Jamie

Rev John A Chester speaking to the congregation at Mount Mizar Church, Larkman Lane. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

But for the past decade, the little wooden cabin on the corner of Larkman Lane has faithfully served as a home to the Mount Mizar Christian Fellowship.

The cabin is believed to have started its life as a prisoner of war hut on Mousehold Heath, before being turned into a library and later purchased by an artist.

But after being bought by the church about 12 years ago, it is now arguably one of the smallest religious buildings in Norwich.

Despite its size, the Rev John Chester, 70, said there are no immediate plans to find somewhere bigger.

Mount Mizar Church, Larkman Lane. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Mount Mizar Church, Larkman Lane. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant


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He said: 'It is a bit like Dr Who's Tardis. You would be surprised how big it is inside.

'We have held three weddings in there, baptisms and funerals in the name of the church.

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'But I don't think I have met a pastor to this day who does not want a bigger church.'

The building takes its name from Mount Mizar, which is mentioned only once in the bible and translates to 'a little mountain'.

Rev John A Chester at Mount Mizar Church, Larkman Lane. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Rev John A Chester at Mount Mizar Church, Larkman Lane. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

Although the congregation is only made up of 14 people, the group has been worshipping together for about 20 years.

Mr Chester said the group formed in Costessey under the name of the 'Costessey Independent Church'.

But they eventually moved to their current location after raising enough money to purchase the hut for about £35,000.

Mr Chester said: 'When we took it on it was in a worse state then than it is now, believe me. We had no electricity and the roof would leak.

'We have been told by several people it started its life as a prisoner of war hut on Mousehold Heath, and so I am inclined to agree that is where it came from.'

He said thousands of pounds has been spent upgrading the inside of the building, and there are plans to improve the external features, including the creation of a new entrance.

The congregation follows the same doctrine as Pentecostalism, which is a form of Christianity that emphasises the work of the Holy Spirit and the direct experience of the presence of God by the believer.

Mr Chester said the church is entirely self-sufficient and is funding through donations from the congregation.

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