Closed City centre church to reopen

A City centre church is being bought back to life this autumn after having been closed for more than 30 years.

St Werburgh’s Church on Friar Gate closed in 1986 after which part of the building became a shopping arcade and later a Chinese restaurant. It is also famous for being the wedding venue of Samuel Johnson in 1735.

The church is now being reopened by The Diocese of Derby with the aim to reach and engage with students and young adults thanks to its location at the heart of Derby’s night life.

The Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, has invited Revd Phil Mann and his wife Anna to come and lead the new church and they are busy building a team to join them in this new adventure.

Phil, 39, has 17 years’ experience in church leadership. He was youth pastor in Guildford for 10 years where he planted and led a youth, student and young adult congregation. He was then Associate Rector at St James Gerrards Cross and for the past year has been at Holy Trinity Brompton, the home of the Alpha course. The new church is a joint plant with St James Gerrards Cross and Holy Trinity Brompton, who have planted almost 40 churches over the past 30 years in London and across the country. Phil and Anna have three daughters.

Phil said ‘We are so grateful to Bishop Alastair and the Diocese of Derby for inviting us to take on this exciting initiative. We are thrilled to be moving to Derby and look forward to working together with other churches and organisations in serving the people of this city.

We have a lot to learn and are so grateful to everyone who has offered encouragement and support as we embark on this challenging opportunity. Our vision for St Werburgh’s is to build an authentic community, which is Christ centred, that plays our part in transforming the city and beyond.’

Bishop Alastair said:

“The launch of the Resource Church is an exciting occasion, and an important sign.  We celebrate a previously redundant church brought back to life in the heart of our city.  This is a project based on partnership between the Diocese, and Holy Trinity Brompton, supported by the National Church.

I am delighted to welcome Phil Mann and his team, and look forward to our work together – not least in our outreach to young people and families.”

The church is hoping to launch mid-September and is looking forward to welcoming people of all ages and traditions. For more information about the church find us on Facebook @stwerburghsderby

The Diocese of Derby

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