Churches prepare to open at Quay Place and the former Odeon cinema

'The Hope Church'

The Hope Church is holding its first services in the former Odeon cinema this Sunday. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ipswich's Christian community is preparing for a super weekend with the launch of two new churches and the rededication of one of the most historic places of worship in the town.

The Hope Church is to have its first service in its new home on Sunday Morning - the former Odeon Cinema near Major's Corner - which has been redeveloped over more than a year.

A few hours later the River Church, part of the evangelical HTB movement in the Church of England brings life back to Quay Place, the former St Mary At Quay church on the Waterfront.

Quay Place

The River Church has moved to Quay Place - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

But before that, the weekend kicks off with a rededication ceremony for the Unitarian Meeting House on Saturday at 2pm which will mark the completion of a £750,000 restoration project.

The work was completed earlier this year - and was largely funded by a £600,000 Historic England grant.

Ipswich's Unitarian Meeting House.

Restoration work has been completed at Ipswich's Unitarian Meeting House. - Credit: Historic England

The official launch of the Hope Church will be held in October, but the first service will be held on Sunday morning and church leader Tom Scrivens said he expected between 400-500 people to come along to see it.

Tom Scrivens, of Hope Church in Ipswich.

Tom Scrivens, of Hope Church in Ipswich. - Credit: Tom Scrivens

He said: "It's all a bit frantic now. A bit like the end of a 'Changing Rooms' when it looks as if there's no way everything can be completed but somehow it all gets done.

"There have been problems - our seats haven't arrived although they should have got here at the start of September so we've had to borrow 750 chairs!

"But everything should be ready and we're looking forward to it."

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Last week saw the last services at the Orwell Centre on Fore Hamlet - the former industrial unit which has been the church's home for 21 years.

"That was emotional for many people, but we're looking forward to getting into our new home, " said Mr Scrivens.

The Orwell Centre is now due to be demolished and the site used for new homes.

Meanwhile the River Church, led by Amy and Matt Key is due to hold its first service on Sunday evening after moving into Quay Place when Suffolk Mencap moved out.

It will bring regular worship back to a church which was last in regular use for services back in 1973.