New church opens its doors in town centre

Deputy Mayor and Mayoress Andrew and Sue Backhouse, centre, with Pastor Paul Abell, centre left, at the Grand opening of The Summit - the new church near Blue Lounge, the new base for Street Angels and Kingdom Faith Church. Picture by Andrew Higgins 124140a 11/10/12

Deputy Mayor and Mayoress Andrew and Sue Backhouse, centre, with Pastor Paul Abell, centre left, at the Grand opening of The Summit - the new church near Blue Lounge, the new base for Street Angels and Kingdom Faith Church. Picture by Andrew Higgins 124140a 11/10/12

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A new church has opened in Scarborough - right in the middle of one of the busiest “pub and club” streets in the town centre.

The Summit, between Barbican and Blue Lounge in St Nicholas Street, is the new base for Kingdom Faith Yorkshire, who until now have been meeting at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Pastor Paul Abell said the church had been looking for their own building for some time and that they were keen to get somewhere in the town centre.

An opening night celebration was held last Thursday for members of the church, family, friends and invited guests.

The event featured live music, a presentation about the centre and refreshments.

Mr Abell said: “We’ve always wanted a building in the town centre, so this is perfect for us.

“It’s had a complete refurbishment. Not too much has been done to the infrastructure, as there was already a large hall which is now a worship hall.

“There’s a coffee area, meetings rooms and a crèche. There’s also a large cellar - it’s just not got beer in it any more!”

Before moving into the former Riley’s snooker club building, church members used to meet at Scarborough Library and then the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Mr Abell explained that they’d seen the building in February, took on the lease in July and were delighted to move in last week.

He said: “It’s been very quick. The whole church has really pulled together.

“Anything we could do ourselves we have done. There’s been an awful lot of painting!”

Mr Abell and another senior church leader, Brian Ward, started the Street Angels initiative three years ago as part of their work.

The scheme, where volunteers offer support and assistance to people who are out in the town centre at night, has gone from strength to strength.

It also has input and backing from Scarborough Council and North Yorkshire Police and is run as part of the Churches Together initiative.

The work of the Street Angels - and younger volunteers the Youth Angels - has had a marked impact on reducing problems with crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

The scheme could now be extended to run during the daytime and early-stage discussions are under way between the church, the police and the council.

The Summit is now open on a daytime from Tuesdays to Fridays. The coffee shop will be open on Saturday evenings from 7pm to around 10pm.