Place of worship...with a difference

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Most people’s idea of a church service is people coming together on a formal basis, listening to a sermon and singing traditional hymns.

However, at Arena Church, on the site of the old ABC cinema and Riley’s snooker hall on Leeming Street, Mansfield, they do things a bit differently.

Open for just over a year, the church doubles up as a community centre, with a dry bar where people can meet for coffee before the service, and play snooker or pool after.

The services themselves are also far from ordinary. Held on a Sunday evening, the service boasts a live band, composed of people in their late teens, complete with drums, bass and guitar.

At the heart of everything though is serving and reflecting the needs of the local community.

Operations Manager Julie Turner said: “If you’re expecting a traditional service, you may be a bit surprised. We have been told to keep the noise down on occasions!

“We have a multi-generational congregation, so our services have to be relevant to anyone who comes in, whether it’s their first or 50th time with us.

“For example, our recent services have been about encouraging people to reach out into the community and not act selfishly.

“Putting God first instead of money, or work is so important - everything else falls into place after this.

“Just come along. We’re a really welcoming, lively bunch, from different backgrounds with a wide range of experiences.”

The church hopes to secure funding in the next year to fully restore the building. With that, they will be able to launch youth clubs for 12-to-16 and 18-to-30 year olds.