Monday, January 18, 2010

Soft Play Church

Great story in the latest Fresh Expressions news about the Wesley Playhouse, a Methodist Church in Yorkshire which refitted as a soft play area & cafe after asking the community what they needed.

Her dream has become an amazingly successful reality – thanks to the efforts of a dedicated volunteer team, key sponsors, and a church willing to take what was seen as an enormous risk. "As far as I'm aware, nothing like this has ever been done anywhere else in Britain," says Caroline. "We now have 3,000 sq ft of play area, a café that operates alongside it and a supportive local community who have taken it to their hearts and now use The Wesley Playhouse as the venues for birthday parties and celebrations. We've even had several Christenings there as a result of people feeling so much part of what has very much become their own fresh expression of church."

Since its launch in 2007, the project has seen over 24,000 people come through its doors. It's a long, long way from the days when the pre-Playhouse Howden Clough Church had just 10 members attending regularly.

I know a church in Bath which has a bouncy castle and puts it up once a month for 'Fun Church', but I guess they've shifted a few pews to make room for it. Something like the Wesley Playhouse seems like a logical next step. This Youtube clip tells the story, and is pretty challenging on how we deal with the historic legacy of church buildings and rediscover what the local church is really about.

Pix and review of the food here.
local press coverage.
Wesley Playhouse website.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, the Wesley Playhouse was the first, in 2007, but I know of about ten other churches in the UK with 'outreach' project Soft-Play areas. I'm near to one in Minehead, Somerset, called "The Hub." The Hub opened in 2013, find it online and on Facebook for more details. Also see Fresh Expressions for a similar story in Gateshead.