A BUILDING that once housed the Red and Hot Chinese World Buffet, in Rochdale, has become a new church-plant which seeks to attract young people.
The Nelson Street Church opened last week in the town centre with a service to celebrate the transformation of the building and the start of a network of interventions designed to revitalise the Christian witness and wider life in the Lancashire former mill-town.
NELSON STREET CHURCHRed and Hot Chinese World Buffet
During the service, the Assistant Curate, the Revd Janie Cronin, was licensed by the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker. The Bishop of Bolton, the Rt Revd Mark Ashcroft, gave the address, and spoke about how the project was born out of many years of prayer and an inspiring vision for Rochdale.
He emphasised the importance of working with ecumenical partners and local churches to take the next step of faith on the journey together to bring new hope to the town and wider area. Among the guests were the Mayor of Rochdale, Aasim Rashid, and the Labour MP for Rochdale, Sir Tony Lloyd.
The Nelson Street Church had already launched on the web, growing an online congregation of about 40 people during the lockdown. The inauguration service was the first opportunity for many of them to meet face to face.
The Rochdale project includes more church-plants, an estates ministry, and a new Church Army centre of mission.
The former Chinese restaurant, which has also been a temperance hall and a dance venue, was bought by Manchester diocese specifically for the project, and was refurbished with the aid of grants from the Church Commissioners’ Strategic Development Fund and support from the Church Revitalisation Trust.
NELSON STREET CHURCHInside the building
The trust, which is based at Holy Trinity, Brompton (HTB), in west London, was set up in 2017 to be a catalyst for a momentum of church-planting with the intention of establishing 100 city-centre resource churches around the country. It was based on work begun in 1985 by HTB, which helped to create more than 20 church-plants, mostly in London and the south-east. Its stated aim is to “play a small part in reversing the tide of church decline and see the Kingdom of God grow in the UK”.