I’m very happy to confirm that we (as a church) are moving home at the end of September! Our new venue will be London Nautical School. We have shared little snippets of this with you at Upper Room, but we were not sure if it would all work out. Now, at last, we have signed the contract and set the wheels in motion.
As I will explain below, this is going to put some short-term financial strain on the church. Please do read on, and consider your giving in this season.
The reason we are moving is very simple: we have outgrown Coin Street, and we wanted to find a bigger space. LNS has a brilliant hall that will serve our needs very well, and is perfectly located just a couple of minutes walk up the road from Coin Street, where we’re currently based.
I should let you know straight away that in making this move, we want to keep going with both morning and evening services rather than combining them back into one meeting. There are two reasons for this: First, if we combined the services we would be filling the hall straight away, which would somewhat defeat the purpose. Second, our vision is to multiply smaller congregations for the sake of community as our church grows rather than finding bigger rooms to meet in. So far, we feel this is working out really well.
Let me explain why it has taken us a while to settle on this move. Coin Street was well setup as a venue before we moved there, due to all their midweek bookings, so that there were very few complications. LNS has never really been used in this way before, so when we went to look around we realised that we would need to do some work there to make it ready for us.
In particular, we’re helping redecorate the hall, and install some equipment that we’ll be using every week. This has meant agreeing with the school that we would pay a large sum up front (about £60,000) to do this work, and agreeing a contract that allows us to pay less in rent for the next three years so that the cost evens out over time. One of the huge benefits of doing this will be the reduced burden on our volunteer teams, especially our tech and venue teams, as the equipment will remain in situ allowing for minimal setup each week.
Obviously, paying this sort of sum up front means digging deep into the bank account. We prayed and thought hard about this, and we feel that it all makes perfect sense financially. You should also know that we are keeping back a good sum of money in reserves – equivalent to six weeks of rent and salaries – which is best practice for a charity.
Nevertheless, the significant outlay up front means that we do feel the pinch in the short term, and would like you all to have a think about your giving. Some of you may be in a place to consider a one-off donation over and above your normal giving, or increasing your giving, which would help a lot. Others of you may consider becoming regular givers if you are not already doing so.
Things will be a little frenetic behind the scenes as we prepare for the move – be kind to the church staff, especially Sarah who is doing the heavy lifting on this project :) A special thanks also to Luke, who has managed this project and taken care of negotiations with the school in order to come to a mutually agreeable deal.
The school itself is doing great work with boys from all around London. We hope we can support them in the future, and that our presence there will bring real blessing to them.
I’m feeling so much faith for this next year, and I’m so happy to be part of this church family and to be doing this work together.