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Churches’ group plants church in new town

13 April 2017

Diocese of Portsmouth

Seconded: the Revd Dominic Clarke outside Mustang’s, a former army social club, where members of Beacon have been meeting, and where they hope to establish a new church

Seconded: the Revd Dominic Clarke outside Mustang’s, a former army social club, where members of Beacon have been meeting, and where they hope to esta...

A CHURCH is being planted by Christians in Bordon, Hampshire, to serve the residents of a new 3500-home development, which is due to be completed by 2020.

A new town centre with two schools, 80 shops, a cinema, green space, an arts centre, and a bypass are also planned as part of the ongoing regeneration of the town, the population of which is expected to double over the next 15 years.

A group of Anglican, Methodist, and Presbyterian churchgoers have been meeting fortnightly in the Prince Philip Army Barracks, now disuse, on one of three sites being developed by the Whitehill and Bordon Regeneration Company. Members of the church group, known as Beacon, are planning to host social events and family activities when the first residents arrive.

The Vicar of Greatham, and of Blackmoor, and Whitehill, the Revd Dominic Clarke, has been seconded to lead Beacon for one day a week. “The area is largely wasteland,” he said, “but, by 2019, the first phase of housing and the town centre will be finished, and we wanted to be ready for that moment.”

Bordon had been a garrison town since the 1920s, with three sets of barracks, although the last of these was emptied in 2015. “It is a relatively deprived area,” Mr Clarke said. “The town only exists because of the army, and, when they left, they obviously took away a lot of its character.”

A “café-style” ministry is in the offing to appeal to the new residents, who, he says, are likely to be younger than the existing population — although all ages will be welcome. “We want Beacon to be something different from the churches that are already in Bordon.” Its existing congregations were supportive, he said: “There is a real sense of anticipation, excitement, and anxiety, which comes about with any change.”

Beacon is promoting itself as “all-age, family focused, open and evangelistic” on its Facebook page, which currently has 65 followers.

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