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Our Story at Forest of Dean Community Church
The closure of a Church in Station Street in 1999 could have resulted in the building being sold off and lost to the community but God had other ideas. Church leaders from Newent, a town north of the Forest were keen to maintain the Christian witness in Cinderford and commissioned Tim and Katrina Cracknell to replant the Church with its launch in 2006.
Tim and Katrina didn't know what to expect. All they had was a dream to start a different kind of Church for the area, targeting those who didn't go to Church. A dream of a place where everyone, including the hurting, the depressed, the frustrated and the confused could find love, acceptance, hope, help and encouragement. A small nucleus soon gathered including a handful of 80+ year olds who were the remnant from the closed Church, another family of 5 and Tim and Katrina. A decade later things are very different! The Church has continued to grow and get younger with each year as new families have joined the vibrant community of faith and many lives have been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes God is at work in the Forest of Dean!
Initially the original Church building was refurbished at a cost of £150,000. No mean feat considering there was only £400 in the funds when the project started! As numbers grow it soon became clear that the small building and lack of parking rendered the premises unsuitable for Sunday morning services. The church then moved for Sunday mornings up to the Forest High School which kindly allowed us to use its Spotlight Theatre for 7 years whilst at the same time during the week the old building in Station Street became a hive of activity hosting various events ranging from parent, carers & toddlers (Koffee & Kidz`), soft play, drop in centre (One Place), Foodbank, Celebrate Recovery (for those with hurts, habits and hang-ups), CAP job club and CAP debt coaching, as well as the more traditional bible study groups each week. The key focus for the Church has been to be a genuine community of faith which is active in its own local community.
A significant development took place when Duncan Murray was employed as Community Pastor in 2014. Duncan had been a member of the Church since near the beginning and his heart for people and the Church has enabled the Church to bring God’s love to the community in a more visible way.
In 2016 the Lord opened the way for 2 Parragate Road property to be purchased, which adjoins the old Church building in Station Street. This was a wonderful answer to prayer and the £300,000 project saw the transformation of the newly purchased site into a spacious car park, complete with two substantial portacabins for extra room space and internal modifications were also made to the original church building. This has enabled Sunday services to be moved back to the Station Street Church site and opened up an exciting new chapter in the story of the Forest Community Church.