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New-look church is proving attractive.

A night church set up in a former bank in Staffordshire has proved the key to pulling in troubled souls.

It started out as the Church Without Walls, set up in a town centre as part of an attempt to help the Lichfield Diocese to better engage with the community.

But the Sunday afternoon project was failing to pull in younger people so when five young men aged in their early-20s burst into the building in Gitana Street, Hanley, during an all-night prayer meeting and asked to join in, priest Gordon Crowther decided to open the church doors to others.

A year after it began, the Night Church has had to extend opening times from once a month on a Friday night to once a week as the initiative continues to prove a welcome alternative to people drowning their troubles in alcohol.

Examples of those who have been helped include a 17-year-old girl who was concerned about a friend and a former Royal Marine who was getting drunk to help forget having seen three friends killed in Afghanistan.

Mr Crowther, church planter and mission priest for Newcastle, Stoke-upon-Trent and the Stoke North Deaneries, said: "The idea was to engage people who did not traditionally come to church.

"Initially, we used to meet on Sunday afternoons for a worship service, but we still felt that we were missing a group who would not engage on that level."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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