New lease of life for Ipswich's historic Quay Place
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
One of Ipswich most historic church buildings is to have a new lease of life...as the town's newest church!
Quay Place, in St Mary at the Quay church, was restored thanks to a £3million Lottery grant.
It was used by mental health charity Suffolk Mind - but the organisation left the site last year, leaving one of the town's most iconic buildings empty once again.
Now its owner, the Churches' Conservation Trust, has signed a lease for the River Church to move in and return the building to its original use.
The River Church will be a new place of worship targeting people living in the Waterfront area of Ipswich, including students and young residents of flats and studios in the area.
It has been "seeded" by St Augustine's in the south east of the town and will be led by married couple Amy and Matt Key, who will be launching the new church at the end of September.
From early next year, they will be working full-time at the River Church which is part of the HTB Network (Holy Trinity Brompton) of evangelical congregations within the Church of England.
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Mrs Key said: "I can't tell you how excited we are to be doing this.
"We're lucky in that the building is in such good condition but we do want to put in a new sound system and it has been empty for a year, so it needs to be tidied up.
"We also need to do a bit of work in the garden - but we're really looking forward to our big launch on September 26."
She expects the church to be open to the wider community, especially younger people living in the area, at the times when they need to have somewhere to meet friends and come together.
She said: "That might be at 6pm when people are getting home from work or late in the evening when they come out of the clubs.
"The pandemic has shown how necessary it is for people to be able to come together and that is what we hope to provide here.
Anglican churches in Ipswich are hoping seed 25 new congregations in the area over the next few years.
Not all will be as large as the River Church, but they aim to attract new churchgoers.