Since 2003, the church has owned the building next door to the church, which was used by a youth charity. When this closed down, the church was left with an empty, disused building. In 2014, we started to ask the question, “What Next?” As we took a look at all the church was doing, we realised that we needed a bigger space to house all our work with children and families. But what should that look like? So we decided to ask the children! Not surprisingly, their ideas were so much more imaginative than anything the adults would have come up with! Altogether, about 60 children and young people had their say in the designs, which included the theatre stage, kitchenette, hobbit hole, Faraway Tree and the favourite of all, the ‘bounce room’!
Matthew 19 v14 in the Bible was an inspiration to us. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”. We fought hard to retain the children’s ideas, even in the face of opposition from adults, some architects and even builders, who at times said it couldn’t be done. When it looked like the project would be too expensive, we got creative, sourced items online cheaply, and gathered the help of 60-70 volunteers, including the children and young people.
Our amazing, wonderful, creative God, has been our inspiration and source of wonder throughout the whole process, bringing people together to achieve the most marvellous and awe-inspiring place. The finished World of Wonder is a masterpiece of artistry, craftsmanship, imagination, and charm, created in fine detail by so many different hands.
Described best by our volunteer, Jenny Lamin:
Wander in, find
Wings and wisdom
Wake up your wishes
Widen your world
Wade in waves of wonder, be
Woven in and watered