Riverside - church for the unchurched

James Barnett"We're a community of people who really need God. We're not just playing at this, we really need him."

James Barnett is a Pioneer Minister for the Riverside Church, a project funded by the Church Commissioners and mainly attended by people who have not gone to church before. He has been describing the new church in a Church Commissioners' audio interview.

"About 60% of Riverside Church are completely new to the Christian faith," James said. "The difference we're seeing in the community is that we're seeing friendships cross boundaries we wouldn't normally see. We're predominantly young, the average age is 25, but there are some people over the age of 50 or 60 who are part of our church. We have children mixing with the adults. We have a number of severely disabled individuals who are part of our community. We have people from different ethnic backgrounds and different faith backgrounds."

Although the Church Commissioners are best known for funding bishops and archbishops, they have been funding Pioneer Ministers like James to explore different ways of helping communities connect with the Christian faith. 

"We're seeing God take ordinary people and using them in amazing ways... It's an exciting time." 

The full audio interview with James, and more on the Church Commissioners, can be found here.

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