National recognition for new Cumbrian church

The success of a newly launched Cumbrian church, aimed at young adults, is featured in a special film from today.

The Way Church in Carlisle was created in 2013 by the Rev Matthew Firth, chaplain of the University of Cumbria, and Young Adult Mission Worker Andy Dykes.

Since then a congregation has begun to build up with regular meetings at the university’s Fusehill Street campus chapel and Our Lady and St Joseph’s Waterton Hall.

More than 70 students also attend regular dinners provided by church members, costing just £1.

Now a film crew from Fresh Expressions – a national organisation which champions new forms of church – has filmed with congregation members to showcase the success.

MattThe Rev'd Matthew Firth, Church Leader of The Wayhew explained: “The reality of the situation is that you see shocking figures which show just how few 18 to 30 year olds are involved in the church. Our research suggests that from about 30,000 young adults in Carlisle, only about 200 are involved in church.

“The church, in general, is not connecting with that age bracket so we felt moved to start something which is a community where those young adults can feel connected, be exposed to the Gospel and hopefully come to faith.”

The nine minute film has now been posted online on the Fresh Expressions website and YouTube. The viewer is led through a day of The Way. On screen social media ‘markers’, including texts and messaging, are used to help guide the viewer through the day.

As well as filming on campus, the crew shot scenes at The Sands Centre climbing wall and in the Cathedral’s Priory Kitchen.

Contributors include Johnny Davison, a member of The Way and non-Christian.

Andy Dykes, Young Adults Missioner The Way ChurchAndy said: “This helps show that whether you are a Christian or non-Christian there is a place for you. The ethos of The Way is that we want non-Christians to be just as much a part of our community; we’re there for those people who are at different points of the journey.”

Norman Ivison, Director of Communication and Resources for Fresh Expressions, filmed and edited the feature.

He said: “The Way is an interesting and innovative example of a new form of church which is trying to reach, in all sorts of ways, what is often known as the missing generation.

“What impressed me most was The Way’s engagement with these people - both those with a Christian faith and those exploring faith, and how they seem to learn from one another. This really is a genuine way of creating a fresh expression of church which builds friendship and community.”

The recent filming took two days and followed on from an article about The Way which had previously appeared on the Fresh Expressions website.

Matthew added: “It’s a high quality video which is really well made and it reflects back to us what’s been achieved.

“There are times when you can think that planting a church is really hard work and you ask what has been achieved. But by watching the film, it makes you realize that we started from nothing and now have something which encourages Christian faith to grow.”

To view the film go to www.freshexpressions.org.uk/stories/theway/jan15 or visit the Diocese of Carlisle’s website at www.carlislediocese.org.uk.

Notes for editors
For more on The Way go to www.thewaycarlisle.co.uk

For more information about Fresh Expressions visit www.freshexpressions.org.uk

Ends

For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07984 927434, 01228 815401 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.