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06/05/2015

Church under the surface

What do the words "King's Church" make you think about? Hundreds of people, a spacious building, relaxing coffee shop and exciting play space may come to mind – but these are only some of the ways that we've been reaching out to our local communities.

Starting out in homes in the 1970s, King's Church has grown considerably over the last 40 years. Our own building was purchased in the 1990s, and the former indoor cricket facility has undergone a huge renovation project to transform the space. The Hastings Centre, as we know it today, now welcomes around 500 members of King's and visitors every Sunday, and its social outreach projects have grown at a staggering rate.

The space is incredibly versatile, and around 2,500 people come through our doors each week, excluding Sundays, with even more using our car park (particularly to visit the local hospital). At any time during the week there may be parties, fitness groups, dance classes, film showings and business meetings happening under the same roof. These include the National Blood Donation Service, Bridge Club, youth groups, training and Link Lunch, which all have regular meetings at the centre.

Coffee Box, our on-site cafe, is a relaxing place to meet for the whole community, with families especially welcome to use our patio and children's play area. There are also plenty of courses running through King's, which are open to the public, such as the CAP Money Course, Alpha Course, Marriage Course and Parenting Course. Not only that, but our hugely popular Totz Klub takes place on Tuesdays as well as Sundays, giving local families the chance to meet with others, enjoy playing together and hear songs and stories with Christian values.

But despite its thriving business, Hastings Centre is a social enterprise, meaning that all profits are invested into the local community. We currently financially support charities such as Hastings Foodbank, Snowflake Night Shelter, Surviving Christmas, Hastings Street Pastors, Stop the Traffik and Hope Kitchen, which are dedicated to helping those most in need in Hastings. Foodbank also regularly uses Hastings Centre for storage, admin and distribution.

Recently, one important area of enterprise has been in offering work experience in conjunction with Job Centre Plus. These positions have been available in all areas of the building, giving volunteers the chance to work in Coffee Box, learn about grounds maintenance, facilities, admin, catering, painting and decorating, or work in our busy reception area. We're pleased to show people what it's like to be employed in such a dynamic environment.

Stuart Clark, Hastings Centre's manager, says: "We've taken on 18 work experience volunteers this year, giving them up to eight weeks to work with us and gain some really important vocational, practical and life skills. So far we've seen 15 people who were in long-term unemployment find permanent jobs after working with us.

"I believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg! We have been blessed with an amazing building and are building a successful business, which gives us the opportunity to bless our whole community and show them the practical outworking of the Father's love."

There's no doubt that Sundays are just the surface of what happens at King's and the Hastings Centre, which has become a ministry in its own right. We love sharing God's amazing love for us through welcoming and serving our community throughout the week, and we're excited to see how God will continue to grow the church in all different areas of influence in the future.

Sian Francis-Cox

Posted by Sian Francis-Cox
18:00


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