Norwich church keeps doors open for community 

St Elizabeth’s Church in Earlham has always had a heart for reaching out to the local community and is taking the innovative step of keeping the church open to provide a safe, warm and welcoming space for people to be. 

Within St Elizabeth’s Church, the 'Beacon Café' has been running for the past four years and has seen an increasing number of both regular and new customers. The cafe provides an open access point for the community to receive support, build relationships, be signposted to relevant agencies and feel included in community life. The demand for this café continues to increase and it has become a real community hub in the Earlham area. Its success is largely credited to its ability to understand the needs of the local residents, and hundreds of people come through the doors every week.
Now with the launch of its new ‘Open Door’ initiative St Elizabeth’s Church will be able to extend its reach further.  The vision of ‘Open Door’ is that the doors of the Church remain open to provide free meals to the local community and to provide a safe, warm and welcoming space for people to be.
Danny Doran-Smith, Pioneer Minister at St Elizabeth’s Church, said; “The ministry of St Elizabeth’s has grown over the last few years and we believe that what we are doing here is quite unique. We are continually in a process of listening, reflecting and evaluating the ministries of the church and thinking about how we can develop them to meet the needs of the local community.  We recognise that many people would often see churches with their doors shut and would not find it easy to approach the church for support.  Feedback has highlighted how many regulars see St Elizabeth’s as a place of sanctuary. Our new 'Open Door' initiative will mean we can push this further, have open access for longer and be available for people beyond the cafe opening hours. We will also be providing free meals alongside pastoral support.”
Throughout the church’s history, and in recent years through press coverage, both Pope Francis and the Diocese of London have reiterated this open door model stating that its best practice for the church to be open outside service times and “if someone moved by the Spirit comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door”.  Churches have always played an important part in being open places where people are welcome for worship, rest and shelter, and this is at the heart of St Elizabeth’s.
St Eliz Open doorOpen Door will be running initially on a Monday, Wednesday and Sunday.
For more information on St Elizabeth’s Church and its ministries please contact admin@thebeacon-norwich.co.uk

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