The Church in the Park grew from a community project “the ARK in the PARK” which is based on the new housing development – The Great Park, to the north of Newcastle upon Tyne.
It is one of a series of Nationwide projects to engender Community spirit in new build areas and is sponsored by the Church of England.
The Great Park Community centre was built in 2014, and the Church in the Park was the first hirer of this new state of the art community space. The Church in the Park officially opened on 20th April 2014 with an Easter celebration service, and it has celebrated its birthday every year since then.
In the beginning, a group of ten Christian families, many of whom lived in the first houses on Great Park and who attended St. Aidan’s Church, met at the Ark in the Park. These people prayed, reflected and discussed how ‘church’ could be more relevant to young families today. A description of ‘what a Church community should be like and what we should avoid’, was drawn up, and these form the basis of worship at Church in the Park.
Initial New Church Discussion – points made:
The Positive things – What we do want our new church to be…
- Make people feel included and embraced and genuinely cared for
- Make people feel welcomed and not judged
- Not “convert” people
- For the whole community
- Be a place of God given faith, follow Christ and the Gospel.
- Teach and discuss basic morals, and to hold a decent moral stance
- Compassion for you and about you
- Worship God with other Christians
- Being with like minded people – same ethos
- Sociable – talking to people: a place for fellowship
- Feel at home and comfortable enough to have fun
- Contemplative/Mindful/Self aware/Reflective
- Give Space and honour the solutions from it
- Be intergenerational and enthusiastic about that
- Self giving is at the heart of all things
- Be an opportunity for a new start
- To build Love – empowering relationships
- Reflecting the Goodness of God
- Forgiveness is very important
- Being there helps to put life into perspective
The Negative things – What we don’t want our new church to be…
- Judgemental, people feel they have to conform
- Unwelcoming, unconcerned with people who come along
- Have English reserve – be unfriendly
- exclude people by silence or not being noticed
- or be Love bombed or Be “told off”
- Not inclusive – regarding spiritual gifts
- Not child friendly
- Have long services
- Have old hymn or those tunes we don’t know
- Have too many rules
- Not being open minded
- Allow Inequality or people to feel alienated
- Over running time slots
- Only want your money
- Stereotype Clergy – wear black, look down on you. Have a special knowledge of how it is and how it should be.
- Use Jargon
- Be unhealthily ritualistic
Since the early days a messy church style ‘breakfast club’ attracted many children and families. The church has evolved and since 2017, when Ruth Hewett was ordained priest, there has been a monthly Holy communion and a deepening of faith among the attendees at the church.
Revd. Ruth Hewett
The ARK in the PARK
62 Featherstone Grove
Newcastle upon Tyne
0191 217 0367