Christ Church Newham

The rebuilding plan

A Christian fellowship of some 150 people, largely of working age, and their children. We are from some 30 or so different heritages.
We have developed a welcoming, caring style with a focus on lively worship and teaching that helps us to grow in understanding and applying God’s word to our lives. Our main ministry is in our everyday life and witness.

The background

Christ Church Newham’s building is on Barking Road, Plaistow in the middle of the London Borough of Newham. It is surrounded by the terraced streets that make up most of Newham – but nearby are large scale redevelopments The church was first built as a ‘tin tabernacle’. Following bombing the main hall was rebuilt as a prefab in the late 1940’s.

The buildings were extended, and then refurbished in the 1980’s. Since the 1980’s the church has recovered from a significant drop in membership, seeing the church grow with people from almost every continent. Some come to faith through our ministry, with believers’ baptisms, and some come as Christians wanting to live for Jesus in their new home.

In the last decade

In the last decade the smaller congregation of Brickfields URC church, Stratford amalgamated with Plaistow Christian Church URC under the shared name of Christ Church Newham. It is now the only URC congregation in a borough of about one-third of a million people. About 150 of us (of all ages) are listed in the church ‘people and prayer’ book. 108 are members

Why rebuild?

Our current site has a lot to be said for it: People looking for a church find their way to it quite easily, it is next to a bus stop covering much of Newham in one journey, and the hall has a modern feel But the building is not now fit for its purpose, nor well suited to our ministry in the 21st century. The original buildings were of poor quality – reflecting the budget and time they were built.

They have a leaking asbestos sheet roof, poorly insulated walls and roofs that cannot cope with even a mild winter. Physically the building is unwelcoming. The visitor walks through 3 doors and a long corridor to reach the worship area. Meeting rooms depend on electric light to be functional. Time and energy better spent on ministry and outreach gets diverted to maintaining the building.

In contrast, look at our planned new building: It has been designed by MSA architects in tune with our vision for church (their practice designed the building reordering and extension at Muswell Hill URC and the prize winning Southend Cornerstone URC church).

It has an open front area – space to be seen as we spill out of church on a summer’s day. The use of glass makes us a more visible and welcoming place. You walk through a welcoming foyer into the large worship / multi-use space at the front of the building.

There are well lit meeting rooms that are well insulated for winter cold and summer heat. The site has space for growth with the planned installation of a gallery and building a block at the rear of the building for a replacement nursery / extra youth and children’s group space.

Outreach and growth

Our planned new building will be a place for everyone: working people, youth, parents with children, retired people. It will be a place that serves the community and the wider church. It will be home for our outreach, a good place to serve the community from, and a good place to invite people into. We will have better catering facilities so we can be more hospitable. We have been following God’s call to mission and growth as we have worked towards our new building. We have been working on developing outreach into our community.

what we do and want to do better

Out the back of our building a new estate of over 150 homes has been visited with a simple welcome bag and introduction to the church, a crowd of us sang carols with and to locals on a Sunday morning near
Christmas – and we are now revisiting to share the good news and hear how we can get involved in their lives. Lessons learned here will need to be applied as we work with others to reach out to the new estates with 1000 homes on the West Ham Ground site nearby.

Christ Church now and in the future…

“We want to be a church that loves God, loves one another, loves our neighbours and makes disciples” Our Mission Can Be Summed Up In Three Words: