In September 2018 Hope Church purchased the former Odeon cinema in the centre of Ipswich. The 5-screen cinema, built in the early 90s, is an iconic building in the town and has stood empty since 2005. We have plans to transform it into the Hope Centre, giving considerable room for us to grow as a church community and to grow the many and varied ministries that are serving our town.
Here are some answers to questions that you may have:
Swipe through the plans below to see what the final layout of the building will be like.
THE HOPE CENTRE BLOG
In 1991, Orwell Christian Fellowship (later to become known as Hope Church) moved out from a house in Ipswich and into Copleston High School. This was a massive step of faith at the time, trusting that God would not only meet the resulting financial implications, but also all the organisational and pastoral commitments that came with opening the doors to Ipswich on a much larger scale. Little did they know that when they took that step of faith, God was lining up something much bigger… something that, at the time, would have blown their minds. That same year, in 1991, a 33,000 square-foot, 5 screen cinema was built right in the middle of Ipswich, and twenty-nine years later, that building would become the home of Hope Church. What a God we serve! He has infinite resources and He loves it when we grow and step out in faith – I wonder what He’s doing now in preparation for what’s in store in 30 years from now.
Welcome to the blog for the redevelopment of the former Odeon cinema; ‘The Hope Centre’. My name is Matt Cornish, I am managing the project and I intend to regularly update with developments, news, photos and prayer points as we progress. It’s going to be an exciting year as the building starts to transform into a space which God will use for His Church, His Kingdom’s advance, serving the town and where Jesus’ name will be made famous here in Ipswich and in the Nations. Click here if you would like to know more about who Hope Church are and our vision and values.
LATEST UPDATE WRITTEN 03.04.20
Greetings from the outside world!! Wow – these really are challenging times; I may have even heard the phrase ‘unprecedented’ banded about from time to time. Since the last time of writing, so much has happened both on site and off of it. I hope you’re all in good health, staying safe and continuing to know God’s peace, presence and refuge in this time. I don’t know about you but I’ve been so blessed and encouraged by the online content that has been coming out regularly – do put aside time to prioritise these things as they are life shaping in a time where we really do need direction and focus!
By God’s grace, building sites that are able to consistently implement measures set out by government guidelines have been allowed to remain open. This has been a massive answer to prayer as we were so keen to complete the steel works scheme that was underway in the building. Well, I am delighted to announce that the pillar removal works in what will be the Auditorium has today been completed – and it looks absolutely fantastic! Stroud Associates and Stour Engineering have worked incredibly hard to pull off a complex scheme in just 5 weeks. I realise at this point, I’ve lost many of you as you jump straight to the images… I get that… I’ll wait for you…
Isn’t it incredible!!! It has transformed what was two separate screens into one incredible open space. As you can see from the 3D visuals of the future auditorium, these works were a big step towards achieving the final 700-seater auditorium.
At the last time of writing, the ground floor phase of the scheme had been completed and we were ready to move upstairs. Since that point, scaffolding was installed in the auditorium and the parts of the truss were then lifted to the second floor via the foyer voids with chain block hoists clamped to the existing steels in the building. The truss was then installed and the columns, which were remaining, were strengthened with plates welded on. Once the new supporting structure was in place (and signed off by a welding inspector), it was time to remove the redundant parts – the horizontal beams, cross bracing (with new steels put in their place) and of course finally cutting three of the pillars out!
You may have also seen on social media that we had a small team help to transport the new custom-made baptism pool up some stairs and into position. Measuring 3.3m in length, 1.7m wide, 1.1m tall, whilst weighing around 3500kg, this was certainly a challenge. Yet, God was with us in an incredible chain of events. The delivery driver just ‘happened’ to wake up and leave 3 hours earlier than agreed which led to a much earlier arrival at a time when Tim Mann (one of the worship leaders in our church; a rugby player and roofer by trade) happened to be parking up across the road with straps in his car that proved essential to getting it inside. We then embarked on a journey up three flights of stairs with the lump of a pool, with only millimetres of turning space at times… yet… the pool arrived safely at it’s destination, undamaged and with no personal injuries. Praise God!!
The works on the Air Handling System, which heats the building as well as supplying fresh air, was completed today. There have been works ongoing for quite some time with these units and if I’m honest, I’ve struggled give any ‘sexy’ updates or photos for this one – it’s very necessary but not very exciting. We had works done on speed controls, glycol added, actuators, controls, lights panels – if you can name it then you probably spend to much time reading up on air handling systems. BUT this time, it’s different – it’s amazing what a lick of paint does eh!?
At the last time of writing, you would have read that the stage had started to be built. Whilst the carpenters did come back to continue, they ran out of timber and were unable to finish. In fact, due to the Coronavirus, this is becoming more and more the case with contractors being unable to get hold of supplies. Whilst we’re able to remain open on site, it seems the majority of suppliers are unable to implement measures set out by the government, particularly social distancing, and therefore are closed. Therefore, along with the stage, the raised flooring lined up to be installed next has been delayed until further notice. We’re hoping that the duct work that we’re having re-routed can still go ahead later this month, however this also is an uncertainty at this point.
Nevertheless, it has been a massive answer to prayer to get to this point. In a world full of uncertainty and closures, the fact that we’ve managed to complete the steelwork alterations during this time is amazing! There is plenty still to be getting on with on site in this period of waiting, but what I do know is this – God is in control and His timings are perfect.
Personally, I’m going to have a week off next week – a week booked last October; which in itself is amazing that the project has arrived at this natural break on the day before I go on leave. Do please continue to pray for the project; for God’s timings and resources, provision and wisdom. For more specific prayer points, you can sign up to the email prayer list by clicking here .
This project is predominantly financed by the generous giving by many at Hope Church any beyond. We have seen God’s faithfulness in abundance so far in this project but there is much more to come. If you would like to give into the Hope Centre project, you can do so by clicking here. Alternatively, if you would like more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.