Grange Park Church does not have its own building, meets for

REACH article – spring 2006
The Church without Walls
by Charlotte Nobbs
Grange Park Church does not have its own building, meets for corporate
worship in our local community centre, otherwise we meet in people’s homes,
walk in the woods and share communion, play crazy games of rounders in
the park, or BBQ… even in mid-winter. The oldest house on our estate of
1,800 houses is 5 years old. There are children everywhere, with an oversubscribed primary school. Most people are not local, have moved to be on
the commuter belt.
We have as many children in church on Sundays in our kids groups as adults
– We use every available bit of space – Whether it’s the foyer, the playing field
in the summer or going for Autumn walks during church time. We have a
huge emphasis on Cell church principles – and encourage our children to
grow as disciples of Jesus now, and to reach out to those around – whether
you are 2 or 15 years. So, the focus is not on Bible Stories week after week,
although we do teach the Bible regularly. It’s on building friendships, making
all we do fun.
So the kids enjoy socials and parties. For our little ones, at least once a term,
they make party invitations, invite their friends along, and during the adult
church, our kids church are playing pass-the-parcel, musical bumps, ‘Simon
says’ turns into ‘Jesus says’, then a fun, interactive Bible story and huge
amounts of party food. We hold Nativity & Easter puppet shows, telling the
stories of Jesus using nursery rhymes, well-known songs, interaction, food
and a craft activity or 3… This Christmas we are running Adventure club – A
look at Christmas for Years 3 – 6 (for un-churched kids) using silly games,
wacky songs, prizes, amazing craft activities and the Bible story told
In the summer we run Kidzone, set up are gazebos on the green outside the
school for 3 mornings, serve cakes and refreshments, and provide face
painting, a toddler and baby zone of activities and toys, arts and crafts,
bouncy castles, games (wack-the-Malteser is a favourite), and a prayer zone –
It’s for free, because God’s love is free, and we see about 600 people. Our
church kids lead with the adults to make this event successful.
Mid-week, we run Stepping Stones, once a month, and tell Bible stories to
pre-schoolers and their carers, using song, nursery rhymes, shakers, props
and puppets, we end with a craft activity that will remind the child of the
story, and a short time of prayer before breaking for coffee, cakes galore and
play. Some of these mums have joined an evening group (Stepping Stones
Plus) where we explore what it is to know Jesus.
Having or not having a building is not the point. We are freed up in many
ways and are able to think creatively, because many of the stifling constraints
of an old, historic building are not there. We think about being part of the
community of Grange Park, go out to them, rather than imagine they might
like to come to us. Anything good that goes on in the community, we try to
bless, serve or contribute – whether it’s community fireworks or helping at
the school fete – If we can we want to bless what Jesus is already doing in
Grange Park ahead of us. Throughout the year, we work with our health
visitor to run a new Mums and babies group from our home. This is a safe
place for them to recover and make friends, build community, and we hope it
combats post-natal depression and isolation. After all, it’s Jesus who makes
the difference, He is the One who redeems, so we try to observe what we
think He is doing already, and bless His work.
Further writing about Grange Park church can be found in chapter 9 of
‘Mission Shaped Children’, by Margaret Withers
published by CHP in May 2006