Today, in response to what God is doing, and the great opportunity in Northstowe, a framework is needed for the growing network of inclusive and diverse ecumenical worshipping and missional communities. Already, Pathfinder Church is being joined by Little Explorers (“time for you, your child, and God”), and the emerging Compline Community, who celebrate encounters with God through silence and poetic liturgies.
The new charity, the Northstowe Church Network, will allow organic development of additional Christian communities for the people of Northstowe, making disciples of Jesus and serving the local community. Locally led, they will be part of a visible and sustainable network, not just sharing ecumenical governance but periodically coming together for joint prayer, worship, and to do things that could not be done alone.
The Northstowe Church Network will also provide a robust governance structure for a potential new community centre, run in collaboration with residents, local authorities, voluntary and other organisations. The proposal is for a sensitively designed, open-hearted, lakeside venue, featuring adjoining internal and external worship and community spaces, allowing for private devotion, corporate prayer, worship services and the celebration of life events. It will be the main home for one or more missional and worshipping communities. A series of flexible spaces will allow not just the local church, but other community organisations, community services and faith groups to hire appropriate facilities. The entire site will be used for worship when the whole church gathers, such as at festivals and seasonal gatherings, complementing the ongoing use of other hired spaces across Northstowe. Thus the Northstowe Church Network aims to offer a peaceful, prayerful presence, having the confidence to hold the ministry of hospitality and loving service alongside acts of Christian worship.
Mark Burleigh, of Churches Together in Cambridgeshire says, “I am excited by this fantastic example of how Christians are working together to serve the local residents, sharing the light and love of Christ in Northstowe. It is great to see Christians working together at grass roots to help nurture life and hope in this developing community.”