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New £900,.000 church opens in Runcorn
A DOUBLE celebration marked the opening of a new £900,000 Hope Corner Community Church, 20 years after it was founded in Runcorn.
The Bishop of Birkenhead and Halton Mayor and Mayoress, Clrs Tom and Angela McInerney, were among 160 special guests at the unveiling of the building in Clifton Road on Saturday.
Pastor Mark Finch, aged 55, said: “It was very much a celebration to say thank you to people from far and wide who have supported us.”
He said the church’s education programme, youth and community work has touched the lives of hundreds of people.
They led the launch of Runcorn Foodbank and have teamed up with 16 churches across Runcorn to help poverty stricken families.
Their centre in Church Street, Runcorn, will stay open.
The new building has space to accomodate all their projects as well as a public coffee bar.
An open day on Saturday, February 23, from 11am to 4pm, will give Hope’s various groups a chance to showcase their work.
Pastor Finch said: “We feel our faith is to go and help people, whatever their need. We try to bring traditional values in a modern way and make the church relevant.
“Eight per cent of our congregation is under 30.”
His mission has become a family affair.
His wife, Karen, aged 53, a mental health therapist, daughter Rebekah, aged 27, a social worker, and sons, Matthew, aged 23, a teacher, and Timothy, aged 21, a university student, all now work at the church.
A special tribute was made to trustee Heather Smallwood, former deputy head teacher of St Berteline’s and head teacher of All Saints, for raising £200,000 towards the new church.
Associate minister Darrell Tunningley, aged 35, a former drug dealer, addict and convicted armed robber, whose life was transformed after discovering christianity in prison, has donated the royalties of his book, ‘Unreachable’ to Hope.