Dec 19 2017

SHEFFIELD CHURCH FORCED TO RELOCATE BECAUSE OF TOO MANY MEMBERS

A church in Ecclesall has been forced to move its services to a nearby school due to an unsustainable growth in members.

Wycliffe Independent Church on Hickmott Road can seat 60 people, but with more than 70 members attending its Sunday services, the church is having to relocate to King Edward’s upper school hall.

Pastor Ed Collier said: “We need room for growth because we want to spread the word of Jesus and the bible and we don’t want that to be limited by the size of the building we have.”

The services at King Edwards will begin in the new year, but Mr Collier admitted this was a temporary solution that isn’t ideal, but there was no permanent answer to the issue.

“At the morning services, particularly with the number of children, we’ve just found it’s got busier and busier, we don’t want to turn people away, we want all existing members to be together to worship god,” he said.

He said there was no one reason why the church had grown, but said the location was a desirable place to live attracting new members while older members are reluctant to leave.

Mr Collier didn’t want to move the church away from the area and lose the community they’d created.

Real estate in the Ecclesall area of Sheffield is expensive and doesn’t offer the bigger space Wycliffe needs, limiting their options.

Church member Ben Walton said: “My family have been coming to this church for generations, so I don’t want to see us move, the King Edwards plan is okay for now but it can’t be permanent.”

The church has previously struggled with too many people attending its services and has taken steps to relocate people.

Four years ago Wycliffe established a new church in Halfway and relocated several of their members there.

Seven years ago the church split its services to a 9.30am and 11.30am slot in order to handle increased number of attendants, but both services are now full every week.

Statistics from the National Centre for Social Research revealed this year that for the first time over half the population of the U.K had no religion, and this increase was caused by declining numbers of Christians in the country.

Mr Collier was undeterred by the national decline in Christianity, he said: “We find that when Christians take the bible as a guide for how you might improve your life a bit, believe this bit but don’t believe that bit then it ends up in decline. But when people are taking it seriously we find it changes lives and people find good news.”

Wycliffe Church was founded in 1908 and is celebrating its 110th birthday next year.

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