Shop doubles as church

A CHURCH without a church has finally set up its meeting place in Felixstowe.The River of Life church which holds its Sunday service at Brackenbury Sports centre has, with the money given by its members, opened a coffee shop in the town centre.

A CHURCH without a church has finally set up its meeting place in Felixstowe.

The River of Life church which holds its Sunday service at Brackenbury Sports centre has, with the money given by its members, opened a coffee shop in the town centre.

For three days a week the shop in Hamilton Road will act as their church where people can meet each other and talk about their troubles.

Terry Baker, the pastor of the non-denominational church, said: "We started the church down here at the end of January which we call the River of Life church.

"As a church we want to reach out to the community. We can help people if they need something or a shoulder to cry on, or a chat with someone. We're not going to be in your face but we're going to be here."

Jennifer Monk, manager of the shop, said: "I have retired and feel that it's a calling back to work to open this place for people to come and chat, we have had one lady already this morning opening her heart out."

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Mr Baker said: "We have had no funding. We never have collection, it's all sacrificial giving," he said.

Members of the church tend to make donations to the church through bank account transactions each month and that money has all paid for the refurbishment and setting up of the shop.

This set up of a church is the first of its kind in this area, with the nearest being in Frinton-on-Sea, Essex.

Volunteers from the church help run the shop from Thursday to Saturday but there are plans to also open it on Tuesday and Wednesday if they get enough helpers.

But the church also has other plans to help the needy. "We also want to open a rehabilitation centre or a half way house for ex-offenders or alcoholics and to put them in touch with professional bodies," said Mr Baker.

The church is a registered charity and is recognised as a church by various organisations including the Evangelical Alliance and New Frontiers International.

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