Ex-bowling alley in Norwich set to become a church
A thriving Norwich church has ambitious plans for community outreach, having won planning permission to turn a former bowling alley into a new church and community centre. Eldred Willey reports.
Last year, the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) applied to Norwich City Council to make use of the former Norwich Ten Pin Bowling Club on Plumstead Road for its new permanent headquarters - providing both a place of worship and a community centre for its members. The site is just off Plumstead Road, to the rear of the Tesco Express.
The church submitted its application to the city council in October and after no objections were received from neighbours and other members of the public, officers at City Hall used delegated powers to approve the bid without the need for it to go before councillors.
The congregation has been meeting in the Dussingdale Community Centre since 2001, and has built up an impressive community programme, which includes a Christmas lunch and dinner, and a summer fun day for children. It now hopes to extend this work to meet the needs of elderly people in the community.
Planning papers submitted with the application say the centre would be used for both worship and a range of other activities, including a parent and toddlers class, a knitting club and coffee mornings.
The RCCG is the fastest-growing Pentecostal stream in the UK, where it now has over 1000 parishes. Four of these are in Norwich: in Dussingdale and in Sprowston, as well as at sites near the University of East Anglia and near Anglia Square.
The Dussingdale congregation is mostly African, including people from Nigeria, Ghana and Zimbabwe, as well as white members.
The new site has parking for 60 vehicles, which will be shared with those visiting the dance studio.
At the new building the church hopes to see morning and evening services held on Sundays, a prayer meeting on Tuesday evenings and evening vigils on Fridays.
Pictured above is the RCCG congregation worshipping at its present location in Dussingdale and, above the existing former bowling alley building on Plumstead Road in Norwich.