In March 2007 it was announced that the neighbouring Highfield Hotel would be sold and the site re-developed to provide residential apartments.It was immediately obvious to the church that a new community of young and retired people, represented an opportunity and obligation for mission.We were also aware that a practical consequence of the development would be the loss of a car parking facility for the church. For many years Ebenezer had enjoyed an informal arrangement with the hotel for the church to have use of the car park during church services.
Without alternative parking the future existence of Ebenezer as a church and community mission base would be severely threatened.

Mission & Development Project 2008.
Negotiations with the hotel developer and local land-owners produced a scheme whereby the church could receive by gift and nominal purchase some areas of land that would then be part-traded with the hotel developer to provide a church car park for 50 vehicles.To enable the construction and access there needed to be some modification to the existing premises and therefore, the opportunity existed for modernisation of the premises to facilitate a greater worship and mission presence within a new housing complex. The hall could also have a make over with a new kitchen, toilets and storage.

The Purpose

  •  To serve a new community.
  •  To equip and expand our mission to the next generation.
  •  To increase our potential for worship and fellowship.
  •  To provide a central northern resource for the Jersey Circuit.

The Beneficiaries
The project benefits;

  •  The church – who gain their own parking and modernised facilities.
  •  The disabled – who have access to the buildings and proper toilets.
  •  The community – especially the 'new community' who can enjoy use of the new facility. 
  •  The Parish – who are relieved of the traffic pressures from parking on the road.

The Cost
The cost of the project was a little under £400,000. For a church of 40 members this was a staggering amount. However, the church had the faith to say that if this was of God then anything is possible.
The project was launched with a harvest gift day in September 2007. The minister had challenged the church that if this project was to happen then £60,000 would need to be raised from the gift day, and that became the prayer. On the Sunday morning following the gift day it was announced that £59,600 had been given, and by the end of the day the target had been reached.
The church took great encouragement from this and were strengthened in their belief that this was God’s will for the church.

The Completion
Within a year, all the necessary permissions had been granted, contracts issued, legal work completed and the building work finished.
In September 2008, just one year after the launch, there was a celebration service to mark the opening of the new premises and more than £386,000 raised.
God is good!

In this inspiring book by Mike Starkey, the Ebenezer miracle is told on pages 138-139 as an example of rethinking vision.    Go to Amazon to see its listing

Ministry Rediscovered:  Shaping a Unique and Creative Church
Paperback – 21 Oct 2011



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