First glimpse at £7m new Soul Church for Norwich in Easter 2020
- Credit: Archant
It boasts a 1,000 seat auditorium, a sports centre and a refuge for the homeless - but £1m a year needs to be raised for the next three years to make it a reality.
The Norwich Family Life Church was left homeless after a fire ripped through the Mount Zion Family Life Centre, in Heartsease Lane, in February 2006.
Now the first glimpses of the planned new building have been released as the church is outgrowing its venue at Mason Road.
They intend to rebuild a church and community hub on the ruins of the former site at Heartsease Lane.
Since the Church transitioned in July 2014 from NFLC to Soul Church it has experienced unprecedented growth and continues to go from strength to strength.
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During the past 11 year's the church has tried to re-establish its base, moving from community to community and never settling on a home.
Their current location is at Mason Road, where the church is outgrowing the venue, which has led to a third service being introduced, with a fourth planned to be launched shortly.
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'This is a statement to our city that the church is taking up rightful place again,' said Pastor Jon Norman. 'We believe that as the needs of our city get greater, the church needs to shine brighter. The church that we see is a place where everyone can call home.'
Local Architects Feilden & Mawson has been commissioned with the project and subject to planning, the church hopes that they will be moved into their new home by Easter 2020.
Phase one will see a state of the art 1,000 seater auditorium, as well as a youth and children's centre, Soul Cafe and an indoor soft play park and Soul Nursery. These facilities will all be linked together by Soul Street. Phase two will include an indoor sports centre and phase three will see a Dream Centre, where they can provide sheltered accommodation for the homeless and vulnerable in the city.
The projected cost for phase 1 will be £7m, which will be raised through a number of initiatives, including the sale of its current site at Mason Road. For the project to stay on course £1,000,000 will be required to be raised each year for the next three years.
'Our future couldn't be more exiting, we're going home', added Pastor Norman.
The Soul Church
The Soul Church was formed in 2014, after the Norwich Family Life Church was renamed. In 2006, the church's place of worship - the Mount Zion Church in Heartsease Lane - was destroyed in a blaze caused by lightning.
The church moved into the former MFI warehouse in Barker Street, but when a deal to buy that fell through they moved, in 2010, to an industrial unit in Mason Road, off Mile Cross Lane.
That has been the temporary home ever since for the Soul Church, but they have always wanted to move the congregation of about 1,000 people back to Heartsease Lane.
In 2013, planning permission was secured for a replacement church building in Heartsease Lane. But church leaders said last month converting and maintaining Mason Road has been a considerable drain on funds, so the relocation has yet to happen.