Christ Church Brighton

Tuesday, 1 September, 2009

Christ Church Brighton is a fresh expression of church in Brighton, established in 2005 under an initiative from the Bishop of Chichester. Meeting in pubs, cafés and a school every Sunday morning, Christ Church is a community of a dozen nationalities, from 1 to 85 in age, with a wide of backgrounds – very much reflecting the makeup of Brighton.

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Carl Chambers, Tim Cahill and Lou Waddington explain how Christ Church, Brighton came to be.

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Transcript

Introducer: Now Christ Church is a fresh expression of church in Brighton, established in 2005 under an initiative from the Bishop of Chichester. They meet in pubs, cafés and a school and the congregation is made up of a dozen different nationalities, very much reflecting the diversity of Brighton itself. Carl Chambers is the church leader and explained how Christ Church came to be.

Carl Chambers: Christ Church began by initially someone who lives in this area saying he wanted a church he could bring his friends to and he didn't really feel there was one that was available like that. And I thought that was a really good idea, because I'm very much in favour of that. I shared it – I was the curate over the hill – and shared it with the archdeacon, who then shared it with the bishop and both thought that it was a really good idea in concept. And fresh expressions was just developing at the time, so about four years ago we launched really with that as an aim, to be a church that you could bring – and consciously bring – your friends to. If you were to do an audit of us so to speak, look at our DNA, we will be the same as another Christ church, and I wouldn't want people to listen to us and think somehow we're radically different, we've found a new way to God – we haven't, we still come to him through his son, by the Spirit. That said, every church is going to be different.

Tim Cahill: My name's Tim Cahill and I've been coming to Christ Church now for a year and six months. We meet at a pub in Brighton, by Preston Circus, called Circus Circus, we meet upstairs in the pub. A low key meeting that you can bring family and friends along to without taking them into the church building or a proper church meeting. I have to say I've brought my kids, none of them are Christians. And some people have come in from the pub downstairs, you know, wandered up to see what it's about. OK, not too many I must admit, but it's there for them. Everybody likes going to pubs.

Carl Chambers: We have faced a number of difficulties setting up Christ Church, and by God's goodness he's kept us through and given others a lot of patience with us as we've made mistakes. Some of those are practical, some of those are very much our fault, some of those just happened. I think one difficulty is I've found it difficult to explain quite who we are and why we're different and why we aren't a threat for instance to other churches, I think that's very important because we in no way would want to undermine any church.

Lou Waddington: My name's Lou Waddington, I work for Christ Church Brighton as a women's minister. Christ Church is different from other churches in that it's smaller, so we know each other well, it's like it is one big extended family. We have to get on with each other which, you know, is what the gospel demands us to do. I think we're living the gospel every day because we're having to get on with people, we can't just run away from the people that we find more difficult, we have to work with the people that we find difficult, love them and forgive them which is what we're commanded to do, so even though that's a challenge, it's also a brilliant thing.

Carl Chambers: I do think that this kind of fresh expression which is based on loving Jesus, loving each other and loving those that don't know him, each time trying to be relevant for their friends, is the way forward, because the vast majority of our city is just not going to pitch up to church on a Sunday and ask about Jesus.

Introducer: Carl Chambers talking there about Christ Church Brighton. And don't forget you can always find out how others are starting and sustaining fresh expressions of church by going to our Share website, that's sharetheguide.org.

Updates to, and learning points from, this story

Monday, 25 October, 2010

Carl Chambers tells us about Christ Church Brighton, a fresh expression of church of a dozen nationalities, meeting in pubs, cafes and a school.

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News update:

Christ Church Brighton closed in July 2016.

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