“F*** off you fu**ing Melf!”
“eh dont burn that jacket its me daughters!”
just some of the random dialogue you can hear on a drink fuelled busy Saturday night out in Chester. We escaped the hustle and bustle and entered the night Church to see what it was all about and found yet another example of the kindness of strangers…
A Church was first established on the site in 907 AD, and is a familiar site to shoppers on Bridge street. Before this night I had never been through the door. .From the outside the light up sign gives the image of a trendy converted nightclub, even down to the presence of high vis wearing door staff. We were greeted warmly and found the Church was well attended. The atmosphere was serene and relaxing with an acoustic guitarist strumming away and fairylights adorning the relics and walls. The volunteers explained that this was a place for anyone to use, regardless of faith, come in, sit down and find some peaceful time for reflection, to experience a “bit of God”. The Church is normally open two Saturdays a month, and as well as the spiritual element, on a practical level offers a place to discuss arhcitecture and morality, love and monsters (and other topics) away from the boom of hardcore R&B and the like. Also you can get free tea , coffee , hot chocolate and biscuits served up by the kind hearted and friendly staff. You don’t have to be religious to come here (I’m not) and there is no attempt at spiritual brainwashing/ attempts at conversion. Its just a great place to come and have a chat and escape the mad world.
We chatted to a young volunteer, Eloise (name changed) and she explained how she came to be involved. She explained how she was studying for a degree in theology and evangelism and came here as part of her placement. “A lot of people are walking around carrying so much baggage.. The Church gives people a place to let themselves go, and be themselves..” She says that curious revellers often visit the Church ( there was a relaxed couple enjoying a passionate kiss near the prayer wall) and it can get busy on race days. “Quite a few people do come in and they think they’ve wandered into a night club..but I dont think many people leave here disappointed”. Many “light a candle as a way of prayer, for loved ones that have passed away, for themselves, even if they’re in a good place” I asked about the relation of the Church to the Street Pastors.. is the Church their version of the bat cave? I was told that they operate largely independent of the Pastors. My other question was about the music being played.. “its faith music” I was told.. a bit of acoustic Oasis would probably sound good in here to be honest, the acoustics are great.
The night Church is a commendable venture and well worth a visit and as an atheist I found it a great place to sit and ponder and just get away from everything for a while and commune with friends and strangers. I looked out into the black and hostile night and wished we could have stayed a bit longer, and also that the Chuch has free wi fi. Go in, you won’t be disappointed, theres a definite positive aura about the place… and may whatever God you believe in have mercy on your soul 🙂