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A warm space that welcomes the whole community

First published on: 10th January 2023

When Revd. Liz Rowles decided to open up St. Paul’s church after their Wednesday morning communion service, she had no idea how many people would come along. 

St Paul’s in Heaton Moor remains open for an extra 90 minutes, providing residents with a warm, welcoming space, refreshments and companionship. 

The church has become a hub for all ages to enjoy time together; local school children with additional needs mix with elderly residents from the local care home. 

All supported by volunteers from across the community, including a local coffee company that provides hot drinks and members of the Rotary Club who help to run the sessions. 

Rev. Liz said: 

 “We have been taken completely by surprise, we expected a few locals to wander in, but instead we have had people of all ages meeting... It was so important to me that our warmish space was in the church itself so that we could welcome people in who had never visited us before. It has broken down any barriers they might have felt about stepping into our church and put a friendly face to their local vicar.” 

This has also turned into an opportunity to grow their congregation. The traditional communion service once welcomed six regular worshippers but, since adding the warm space, that number has more than doubled. 

If you have considered opening up your church buildings as a warm space, Revd. Liz offers this advice: 

‘Just open up your doors, and you will be amazed at the results! 

‘We never envisioned the response we would get; we now have a hub in the church with a real sense of community. Excitingly, we also have a whole host of ideas coming out of these meetings for more community activities. 

‘Please don’t feel like you have to have the perfect space. We were completely ill-prepared but started anyway. We have no disabled toilet and very limited kitchen facilities, yet our visitors understand and we make the very best use of the space available’. 

If you are considering opening up your own warm space, it’s a good idea to add to activities already taking place in church.

As a reminder, each warm space must be: 

  • Free 

  • Warm and able to provide basic refreshments 

  • Welcoming and safe 

To get more guidance and to register your warm space, head to 

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