Sheringham Lighthouse church success story is a beacon to other Baptists

Lighthouse volunteer maintenance manager Derek Baldry planting bulbs along the front of the Cromer R

Lighthouse volunteer maintenance manager Derek Baldry planting bulbs along the front of the Cromer Road church site. Photo: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

Sheringham's new Lighthouse Community Church has succeeded all expectations in its first three months.

Two-year-old Imogen Atkinson having fun in the Lighthouse Community Church soft play area. Photo: Ka

Two-year-old Imogen Atkinson having fun in the Lighthouse Community Church soft play area. Photo: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

And pastor the Rev Bryan Pickard says the £1.6m Cromer Road centre is on course to become a blueprint for other Baptist churches around the country.

Lighthouse coffee bar volunteers Lorna McKale and Joy Irvine serving up hot drinks and chat in the n

Lighthouse coffee bar volunteers Lorna McKale and Joy Irvine serving up hot drinks and chat in the new church building. Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

The Lighthouse, which boasts state-of-the-art facilities ranging from a multi-purpose auditorium to a cafe and children's soft play area, was officially opened in September - replacing a cramped 1950s building on Holway Road.

Mr Pickard said the new church had already fulfilled its aim of becoming a community beacon, with groups ranging from gardening and slimming clubs, to choirs and charities using the centre.

The cafe was attracting people of all ages, and more people attending services, parent and toddler and youth groups.


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'We are being looked at by other churches and more and more people are using the centre, community-wise,' Mr Pickard added. 'We are getting a real cross-section and people without church connections are coming along and even volunteering to help in the cafe, which is wonderful.'

A new Sunday tea club for those living alone had grown from attracting a handful of people to regularly offering tea and chat to more than 30, with up to 90 parents and youngsters attending the Thursday morning Jigsaw toddler group and extra staff taken on to work on community projects.

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Youth pastor Pete Skivington is setting up outreach projects for young people, including ferrying doughnuts and hot chocolate to teenagers at the town's skatepark.

'A lot of people find walking into a church difficult, but we have deliberately kept religious symbols to a minimum to be accessible to all,' Mr Pickard said.

Contact www.lighthousesheringham.org or 01263 825155.

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