THE HOPE CENTRE. KCC Southampton recently acquired a building for £1...Yes, £1. You can't make it up! Andy Johnston from KCC, shares how it all came about.
Southampton is something of “a tale of two cities” with all the larger churches in the city being located in the west and the majority of social deprivation and poverty being in the east. We as a Church sit right on Junction 7 of the M27 and have a vision to reach across the Solent right across the M27 corridor impacting many different communities. At the same time we have always had a heart to see the city renewed and transformed by people who love Jesus and love their community.
For the past 12 months or so a group of 50 or so people belonging to Kings Community Church have been making use of a building belonging to another Church which is in the eastern part of the city. It is a typical community / church facility on a typical estate. Thousands of people live within a couple of square miles and many who live on the estate regard the building we have been using as “theirs” in some way.
Borrowing the keys, we have been using the building for prayer meetings, breakfasts, lunches and have also sought to care for it through providing work parties for basic maintenance. Whilst all this was going on, one of our students had a prophetic dream in which she saw a picture of a community centre amidst high-rise buildings with people going in and out. Above the building she had written in her prayer journal the word “Hope” without knowing that we were just at the point of agreeing with the church that owned the 100 year lease on the building that they would hand the lease over to us for £1!
It is wonderful to have an opportunity to reach into a needy area of the city (especially at almost zero cost!) We have plans to extend our Food Centre, our Jobs Club, our work with CAP, our Youth work and lots of other dreams. The best thing, of all, however, is that God has gone before us, that He speaks prophetically and so clearly to us. We are full of confidence and expectation that God will use this building to bring hope to the hopeless as it says on the tin!
Andy oversees training for Catalyst, and teaches several of the historical modules. He is the lead elder of ChristChurch Hailsham, and holds a PhD in Church History from the University of Southampton. He is also the author of several books and academic articles on the Reformation.