Community and church leaders will celebrate the launch of a new church for Swindon this week.
The civic service will take place at Pattern Church, which will be housed in the former Pattern Store. Services will take place at the location throughout December, before moving to The Platform while work is carried out to convert the building.
The Pattern Church, as it will be known, is part of a major strategic initiative by the Diocese of Bristol to support its Creating connections vision. It will be a Resourcing church; resourcing churches partner with other churches in an area to offer support and resources.
The team at Pattern Church will be led by Revd Joel Sales. Joel has worked as a pastor in churches in London, Bath and South Africa, with a particular focus on church planting.
Joel said: Swindon is an amazing town with its rich railway heritage and exciting future. But it has its fair share of challenges too.
The Pattern Store was built in 1897 to house patterns for the Swindon railway works. We believe it is going to be a home for new patterns around community, faith, family, fun, adventure and prayer.
We want Pattern Church to be a community of people who invite others into a family that serves Swindon and help them to grow as faith-filled, mission-focused disciples of Jesus.
Rt Revd Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon and lead for Resourcing churches in the Diocese of Bristol, said: As part of the Dioceses vision to bless the town and people of Swindon, the Pattern Church is set to become the home base for providing fresh energy, people and approaches which will resource other churches across the town and contribute to social transformation.
It is an inspiring and challenging vision. It is a venture of considerable faith and reflects what Jesus Christ has laid on many of our hearts for this very special town.
The Pattern Church is a significant example of the way in which we are developing our commitment to introduce more people to the Christian faith, engage younger generations and connect with the communities of our changing town.
The Pattern Church is one of a number of resourcing churches opening across the country. The Diocese of Bristol also re-opened St Nicholas Church in Bristol in September.
As the name suggests, the Pattern Store was constructed by the Great Western Railway in 1897 to hold the moulds (patterns) used for building their locomotives and wagons. Later it became a workshop for the pattern-makers themselves and this continued until the railway works closed in 1986.
It is hoped the work to convert the building will be completed in late 2019.