Chatham Town Centre

The Diocese is working with local people to redefine our vision for Chatham; Bishop’s Council has agreed the aim of re-missioning and committing to Chatham to grow the church numerically and spiritually. The diocese is working with the Church Army to establish a Medway Centre of Mission which is initially serving Chatham but will extend its reach to serve other areas of Medway.

With the ending of the Local Ecumenical Partnership, mission in Chatham Town Centre has had a reset. Starting from developing a totally new team with a plant from Pip ‘n Jim’s, the St John’s-on-Tap worshipping community gathering at the “Tap and Tin” nightclub have attendance of 20 or more.

The mission team’s capacity was further extended by the appointment of Stephen Ramshaw (Church Army) as Lead Evangelist. The project has recently appointed a second evangelist (with a track record of working with young people), which will be funded by the Church Army who partner with us on this project.

The Conversation Café, established in 2017, continues to thrive and provide an important service to local residents who may not have English as a first language.

Strong relationships with the Head, Senior Leadership Team, Governors and parents at St John’s Primary school have resulted in the school inviting the Church to establish a plant (soft launched in September and attended by 19 adults and 8 children with monthly gathering to follow). Termly Messy Church is over-subscribed with numbers constrained by physical space, circa 50 children. The church plant is the result of requests by the parents of the children attending the messy church, and as such the high attendance is not a surprise, but it is an excellent achievement. Together these worshipping communities total almost 100 people.

An application for Heritage England (HE) has been successful, providing over £80k of funding to allow urgent building works to be carried out. This is being used to match capital made available from the Church Commissioners through the major bid secured in 2016.

This complements Medway Council’s major regeneration activity which is focussed on Chatham Town Centre, where they are seeking to improve both the physical and community benefits of the area between the train station and the bus station. The first phase of the regeneration plans includes improving the highways and street scene. Between these two stations lies St John’s Church, a Waterloo era building of historic and community significance. For more information click here

The Diocese is working with local partners including Medway Council, to bring the disused church building back into use. The Diocese and local people feel it is key to local identity and a crucial element in the plans for the regeneration of the community.

The strategic project at Chatham includes re-establishing a worshipping community for St John’s Church, bringing the building back into use (potentially with an interim solution) and establishing mission activities in the local community. The area around St John’s is one of the most deprived in the Diocese in terms of employment rates, income, education and quality of life.

The Church Commissioners awarded the diocese a grant of £665k towards the £1.3m project. The funding seeks to support strategic growth and change in churches and communities, and was awarded following a competitive process.

Contact:

Project Manager
Alan Matthews
Email: alan.matthews@rochester.anglican.org

Consultant (Chatham and Ebbsfleet)
Rev Bonnie Appleton MA
Email: bonnie.appleton@rochester.anglican.org




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