The Church’s decision to prioritise youth and community work by appointing a paid Youth Worker led to the establishing of a Family Café in the Church Sanctuary and grew into a vision to transform some of its decaying buildings into a new Youth Centre for the town.
The site of Dursley Tabernacle URC has been developed over 250 years. The building is listed and lies in a conservation area on the edge of the Cotswolds. It sprawls over a range of levels and access is a big problem. Situated in the heart of the town, the church has been constrained by its buildings for many years. Pulling them down was not an option, but converting them in to a community resource is transforming the church, its people and their faith.
During the early years of her role, our new youth worker started up a family café in the church sanctuary and developed a range of links with the youth work going on in the local community. Through these contacts and experiences developed a vision to solve the problems of our decaying building and simultaneously resolve the town’s need for a new Youth Centre by entering into a partnership with the local Town Council.
Dursley Tabernacle: the Parsonage Project youth centre
The Parsonage Project:
A Youth Centre at Dursley Tabernacle URC.
URC Vision 2020 Statement 4:
‘We will be a Church that is more active
in the life of local neighbourhoods’.
The Tab’s story is a tale of:
• decay and despair
• audacious vision
• stepping out in faith
• community partnerships
• massive change
• new hope
2010 Vision 2020 statement – focus on Youth Work.
Church Youth Worker Appointed
2011 Parsonage declared unfit for purpose as
2012 Entered in to Partnership with Town Council.
2013 Public Consultation. Planning Permission
obtained. Development Worker Appointed.
2014 Construction Phase
2015 Youth Centre opened to the public.
2016 Phase Two…?
What it cost:
In reality The Vibe has cost the church about £100K
and the Town Council have invested at least £300K.
A rough calculation suggests the Tab has invested at
least a thousand volunteer hours a year in this work,
plus all the paid efforts of the Tab Youth Worker and
Funds for the church share of the costs have come
from a range of sources large and small. The
support of the West Midlands Synod Mission Fund
to finance Youth Worker and Development Worker
roles, as well as a capital grant, has been significant.
What it delivered:
• A fantastic space for our own church youth
work making our young people feel valued.
• A community resource which has
transformed community youth work in the
town and, now staffed entirely by Christian
Youth Workers, is reaching large numbers of
young people who do not usually cross the
threshold of a managed space.
• New partnerships and new potential for
investment and future projects.
Why did it work?
• Prayer and consultation each step of the way.
• Teamwork and new partnerships.
• A willingness to think about what the
community needed and not what the church
• A willingness to take risks & step out in faith.
• An insistence that the faith journey of the
church was not neglected along the way.