"BEING in a church building has given us a much more explicit
identity; patients who come to us assume that we have a spiritual
base," Dr David Rogers, one of the partners at the Baffins Surgery,
The practice is housed in one end of what was once a cavernous
church - and it still looks like one on the outside. On the inside,
however, it is now home to a medical practice, conference
facilities, and an education centre hosting a pre-school and a
The vision to transform St Cuthbert's was sketched out by its
Vicar, Canon David Power, on the back of a concert programme in
1999 during a concert in the church. The congregation had to
relocate while building work was going on, but moved back in a few
St Cuthbert's won a design award last year from the Portsmouth
Society for the best re-use of a building. And, at the award
ceremony last December, Canon Power spoke about the original vision
for the church: when it was built almost 100 years ago, the vision
was that it should be a place of worship and service to the
"So, although St Cuthbert's is being given the award for the
'Best Re-use of a Building', the development is, in fact, a fresh
expression of the initial vision for which it was constructed,"
Canon Power said. "The place of worship, in particular, was
designed to say with great clarity: 'This may be a historic listed
building, but our faith is a faith for today.'"
Dr Rogers says that the worship space, which was the space to be
redeveloped, was "the last piece of the jigsaw" for the other users
of the church building.
At Baffins, all the partners and salaried doctors in the
practice are Christian. Before they moved into St Cuthbert's, they
operated from a semi-detached house. Before the redevelopment of St
Cuthbert's, they visited the Bromley by Bow Centre as inspiration
for their integrated approach.
"Faith is the basis for the partnership," Dr Rogers says. "Our
vision is to serve in a holistic way. We minister to people's
needs, whether mental, physical, or spiritual. We have a strong
pastoral concern for patients; we hope our Christian values impact
positively on our care."
The practice used to have a prayer clinic at the end of surgery,
but now staff and patients attend the prayer group in the worship
space. He says that it is not unusual for patients to ask for
prayer. There are also Bibles freely available in the practice.
The church congregation has been enormously supportive of the
practice, to the extent of raising thousands of pounds towards the
Dr Rogers, who has been a partner at Baffins for 29 years, said:
"It's been a massive boon for us: it's increased effectiveness, and
increased services that we can provide."
Health visitors and midwives also operate from the church, and
each autumn, as the new flu-jab clinics open for patients, members
of the congregation come in and serve refreshments.
"At a Saturday-morning flu clinic, 500 people come through the
doors. It's an outreach for the church. The church is at the hub of
the centre: it's not just a worship space, but it is more holistic
in its approach.
"And people coming in are coming not just for church, but for
their health and education needs. We'd love to see even more links
between the practice and the church."