Stan Hazell reports on a Sheffield-based initiative of four local churches
The Terminus Café – on the Sheffield estate of Lowedges – looks like any other café. But, unusually, it opens and closes with prayers, has a prayer board which is regularly used, and some of its many customers describe it as their church.
The café, which stands opposite a bus terminus (hence the name), also has an outlet for secondhand goods. The initiative has become the heart of the estate since it was opened 12 years ago by four local churches working in partnership, and it has grown to provide a range of both spiritual and practical services that go far beyond a cup of coffee and a bun.
It all started in 2000 when the local Methodist church sent out a questionnaire asking residents what mattered to them, and what the church could do to help. Many residents of the estate, which has a history of antisocial behaviour and drugs, expressed surprise at the question, and didn’t recognise that the church could play a meaningful community role. Nevertheless, the survey discovered that what residents wanted was a drop-in centre for the elderly, and youth activities. The Methodist church realised that any response would need to come from all the local churches. An ecumenical prayer group, already in place, began planning, and, in 2002, backed by four very different congregations – Methodist, Church of England, United Reformed and Free Evangelical – The Terminus Café opened in a former butcher’s shop. It is run by volunteers from all four churches, as well as non-churchgoers and those of other faiths…
This is an extract from the March 2014 edition of Reform.