Wrexham shop to become Christian outreach base
A former clothing store could be turned into a Christian outreach centre in a bid to attract more young people to the church.
Hope Street would be a Church in Wales project in Wrexham town centre based in the former Burton shop.
It has secured £1.9m from a new evangelism fund set up by the church to engage more people with Christianity.
The centre would provide worship space, training rooms, a kitchen and a community engagement space.
It would also be a base for programmes such as support for rough sleepers, holiday hunger schemes and family care.
Workers based at the centre would look to appeal to those currently outside of traditional church attendance, the church said.
The three-storey building, which takes its name from the street it is located on, is in sight of the town's medieval church of St Giles.
Its vicar, Rev Jason Bray, called the project an "exciting, bold and ambitious plan to offer a different kind of Christian space for people of all backgrounds".
Data from the Church in Wales showed Anglican churches were closing at a rate of about 10 every year, with attendance dropping off as the numbers of people saying they had no religion rose.
Initiatives such as Hope Street are a response to these statistics from the Church in Wales, which set up its £10m evangelism fund last year to run alternative schemes seeking to engage younger people in less traditional ways with Christianity.
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Project lead Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph, said: "Christianity is in danger of becoming a faith for older people in today's Wales, and this project is designed to show that following Jesus is relevant and exciting for people of all ages and backgrounds."
Sir Paul Silk, chair of the Evangelism Fund committee, called Hope Street an "imaginative project" which they hoped would appeal to "young people and families who are currently under-represented in our churches".