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Project of the Year 2017: 57 West and Clarence Road Baptist Church

Southern Sector

57 West logo57 West is a recently planted Baptist church in central Southend-on-Sea. The church has emerged among rough sleepers and low-income households. We are sharing the Gospel in new ways that helps the non-churched to respond. The community is trying to be whole-life oriented, where God’s invitation is received to live ‘life in fullness’. After 3 years working, 57 West is now a thriving community of people exploring faith and being baptised. They are supporting each other in their significant needs, and we are welcoming in more people each day.

Clarence Road Baptist Church (CRBC) is one of the older Baptist churches in Southend-on-Sea. The form and focus of the church has changed much over the years, but our location in the town centre has always played a key role in defining our ministry. Today, we are a ‘small’ church, but one which is known for its welcoming spirit and generosity. Our intention is to use all of our resources to further the mission of God in the heart of Southend-on-Sea.

Summary of our project

With over 6000 visits to 57 West in 2016 we have outgrown our small coffee shop premises. Our daily community café offers free food and drinks, pastoral support and therapy activities such as art classes. Saturday church and following community meal accommodates around 40 people. We are consequently
bursting for space. We have therefore agreed with Clarence Road Baptist Church to lease and renovate their lounge area. This will give around 60% more space than we currently have.

The premises of Clarence Road Baptist will therefore be zoned into two areas for the two churches to coexist and to support the existing groups that use the Church’s premises including: Olive Tree Counselling, Cruse Bereavement Counselling, Street Pastors, Chinese Christian Church, Carers’ Forum, Rethink Recovery, and Alcoholics Anonymous.

The goal of our project is to create a flexible and inviting space where the worship and mission of both churches can continue to grow together in partnership, and where God’s kingdom extends in Southend.

Proposed works

Funding is therefore needed for renovation works, including renovating the existing lounge area to make it into a community café for 57 West. This includes: new lighting, electrics, electric heater, shop-front windows, open-plan kitchen area, shower room for rough sleepers, new toilet area, new partition wall in lobby to zone the area, two moveable partition walls in main church hall and lounge area.

Budget costs:

Total £60k (£35 has already been sourced). Amount needed £25k

Moving Forward

We are excited about the potential this partnership has for both churches, and for the mission of God’s church in Southend town centre. With the support of Projects of the Year 2017 we consider this project to be both achievable and timely. We appreciate any support you can offer and ask you to continue to pray for both churches moving forward.

Clarence Road Baptist Church new off road windows