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Margate: New worshipping communities to be based on Ignite in Cliftonville

By Katie Davis

A pioneering cafe-style church is Margate is to be used as a blueprint for new worshipping communities in other towns.

The £1.4million project will see the format of Ignite in Cliftonville used to create further groups under the Diocese of Canterbury.

These will be established in Herne Bay, Sheerness, St Peter Port in Guernsey, Sittingbourne, Maidstone and Ashford.

Ignite in Margate. Pic: Jim Drew (2990677)
Ignite in Margate. Pic: Jim Drew (2990677)

All will be based on Ignite, a church gathering at St Paul's parish in Cliftonville, which aims to reach marginalised communities.

The area is the most deprived parish in the south east of England and the sixteenth poorest in the country according to the church urban fund poverty indicator.

Ignite is a weekly meeting involving food and a magazine style service based around short interactive activities and input exploring a Christian theme.

Ignite is to be used as a blue print for new worshipping communities. Pic: Jim Drew (2990681)
Ignite is to be used as a blue print for new worshipping communities. Pic: Jim Drew (2990681)

Since being founded in May 2008, it has been replicated at St Christopher's in Ramsgate, using start-up funding from the Church Commissioners.

Reverend Canon Patrick Ellisdon and his wife Debbie, who were core members of the Cliftonville team, will be commissioned to oversee the project on July 19.

Reverend Ellisdon said: "The vision of the original Ignite remains simple: we intentionally love and befriend people from all walks of life, because God first loved us.

Archbishop Justin Welby at Ignite. Pic: Jim Drew (2990679)
Archbishop Justin Welby at Ignite. Pic: Jim Drew (2990679)

"In this way, we have been privileged to introduce many people to Jesus through Ignite's interactive teaching style as well as through the authenticity of our relationship with them.

"Debbie and I are thrilled that the Church Commissioners and Canterbury Diocese are investing considerable resources so that other churches can use the Ignite model to engage with their own marginalised communities in a similar way."

The project has been made possible thanks to a £887,015 grant from the Church Commisioners.

Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover, said: "The Gospel is core to everything Ignite is about.

"It begins with unconditional welcome to all who walk through the door, the assurance that they utterly belong and that Jesus is good news for them too, no matter who they are or where they’ve been.

"We’ve been simply astonished by the success of the first Ignite congregations and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

"We are delighted to be partnering with a generous God - and with the Church Commissioners - so that lives changed by an encounter with Christ overflow into families, homes and communities changed for the better."

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