Hope Church have this week completed the purchase of the former Odeon cinema in the centre of Ipswich, which has sat empty for 13 years since it’s closure.
The church, which currently has its Sunday services at the Orwell Centre in Fore Hamlet, has been in negotiations to purchase the cinema for the past 18 months and secured planning permission to convert it into a place of worship and community centre back in May.
Lead Pastor, Tom Scrivens, explained why the church has taken on this venture. “We have a big vision to serve the needs of this town and to welcome many people into our community. So we have sought God in prayer for a larger venue to facilitate this.”
The church has grown considerably in recent years, and as a result in February 2016 expanded to two services on a Sunday to be able to accommodate more people.
This week many from the church community gathered at the Odeon for a tour of the building and squeezed into one of the smaller screens for a service.
Tom continued, “It was a great opportunity to thank God for his miraculous provision. There was a great buzz about the place as people saw the inside of a building that many had frequented when it was still a cinema! It’s a miracle that we’ve been able to purchase this building. We don’t consider ourselves a wealthy church and we have been able to achieve this because of the sacrificial giving of hundreds of people”.
The church, which is involved in many community projects serving the needs of the very young to the elderly, will seek to renovate the premises in order to be a resource for the community of Ipswich, and will include a larger worship space to seat up to 750 people.
“We genuinely want to see the town flourish and we are here to play our part in that” Tom concluded. “There are many great churches in Ipswich with whom we enjoy an excellent relationship. Along with them we want demonstrate the mercy of Jesus to the town that we love.”