Three choices for the community

Tom Rout is vicar of the Ipswich Waterfront Churches (St Helen’s, Holy Trinity and St Luke’s) and Anglican Chaplain to the University of Suffolk and Suffolk New College. He is married to Nicola and father of 3 young children.

T.E.A.M. - ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’. It’s an acronym or mnemonic that sums up well the approach our Waterfront Churches are taking to the future of their ministry in this wonderful part of Town.  

Up until 1999 St Helen’s, Holy Trinity and St Luke’s were three separate churches, each with its own minister. Then in 1999 the churches were linked up as a benefice with one minister serving three congregations. The question we are asking ourselves now is, how can we be most effective - both today, and into the future. Is it as three smaller congregations, each with loyalties to its building, history and activities… or is it as a unified and larger church family, with three buildings at our disposal, working together on services and activities that will connect with the people of the Waterfront area and the parishes (zones) associated with it?

It may seem strange to many residents that we only have a service in one of our churches each Sunday, and that the venue changes every week. Doesn’t this mean that two out of the three church buildings are closed and unused on any given Sunday? The thinking behind it is that our congregations already share a common calling and purpose (to bring the good news of Jesus to the communities around us) and worshipping together on Sundays brings that home to us. It builds a sense of togetherness which is vital if we are going to engage in a meaningful way with local people. Our aim is not just to keep buildings open on Sundays, but to ensure what goes on in them - and comes out of them - is a real blessing to this area. As for the long term - who knows? But one thing’s for sure: T.E.A.M.

To find out where our service is on any given Sunday, please visit: www.ipswichwaterfrontchurches.co.uk or Facebook Waterfront Churches Ipswich Public Page