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 05.02.21
A new year, a new lockdown; yet we continue to move forward on what is probably the most exciting project going on right now in East Anglia. You would have read about last time (or even seen in person) the amazing face-lit signs on the front and side of the building. They were turned on over Christmas, in conjunction with the Ipswich town centre Christmas lights, and continue to come on every evening and morning. If you’ve driven past, you’ll know how striking they are and we’ve had multiple reports already at how the word HOPE on the side of the building has been incredibly uplifting for so many in this time.
Inside the building, there has been a lot of progress; some incredibly exciting and some incredibly… well… necessary. The more boring, yet important things going on have included a lot of the ‘behind the scenes’ items. Wiring for power, sockets, internet, CCTV, lighting & alarms, drainage routes, pipework, fire barriers and curtains to compartmentalise areas and detection systems – all requiring installation ready for the ceilings, final fixtures and fittings.
On the ground floor, walls have continued to go up to create the rooms and some are now ready for painting. In the photo below, you’ll be able to see the main room downstairs which will be primarily used for children’s work on Sundays, Youth events, Smaller Church meetings and conferencing – it’s a great space! The corridor which runs from the foyer to this larger room has been created too, which includes a space where a disabled toilet and shower room will be installed. We’ve also punched through a wall to form a doorway to give us an additional route from the ground floor to the main auditorium.
On the first floor, the space for the offices is looking fantastic. The wooden panels that can be seen in the photo below will be a glass wall which overlooks the foyer and lets lots of light through. The area has been plastered and painted – which was done by spraying the paint on (as seen in the photo below). The next steps will be ceilings, lighting and carpets.
On the top floor of the building, the ceiling has been installed and plastered in the Prayer Room – it’s such a great space. It will not be long until this room is painted and heading towards completion. We are replacing a few of the windows to enhance what is already an incredible view of Ipswich. You can see as far as the Orwell Bridge.
So much has happened in the Auditorium since I last shared. The walls & steels have been painted, rigging points for lighting and two large LED screens have been fixed in position, all the first fix for the air-conditioning is in and house lights are in the process of being installed as I write this. The 700-seater, acoustically treated auditorium, with built in and plumbed in baptism pool under the floor, changing rooms and back stage areas, really is such a breath-taking space. With the ceiling due to be installed in a few weeks’ time – it’s an exciting room to be in.
Going back outside, we are so pleased to see the new fire doors being installed. The old wooden doors are being replaced with grey steel doors all the way around the building, and apart from smartening up the building exterior, they also add much more security to the building.
Generally, it has been amazing to see what a lick of paint can do to transform the building; from stairways to walls to windows, we’re starting to see the Hope Centre moving from the vision once seen through 3D graphics to a reality. The next few months are going to be incredible!!
This has been so much more than just a building site. We have seen a really great community grow out of this project with good friendships being made along the way. What is more, Hope café, who provide hundreds of meals to may people during the pandemic, have also been feeding the workers every Thursday with delicious meals.
SO WHAT IS NEXT?
The last few walls on the ground floor will go up in the next week or so and the plasterers and painters will not be far behind them. Ceiling installation will begin next week (8th February) across the building, which will in turn allow for lighting, air-conditioning and fire alarm system final fixes. All the glasswork, including the long glass wall and the balustrades, isn’t far around the corner either. Carpets will then follow as we head into the final stages of sound systems, cameras, televisions and all the other fixtures due to be installed. We are also in consultation with an interior designer and café consultant to help design, create and install the public-facing Café which will be found on the ground floor. These really are busy but exciting times!
Please do continue to pray for the project. The fast pace it is moving forward now is very exciting, but this also means that any issues that arise also require quick resolutions. So, pray for me – for wisdom, insight and the ability to spot things early. Pray for any hurdles to be speedily and effectively overcome, for safety on site (including protection against COVID-19), and for everything to go smoothly between now and the day we open the Hope Centre.
Finally, we are so thankful that in December we were awarded a grant for an incredible £38,000 by All Churches Trust; who equip and empower Christian organisations to have a positive and transformative impact on lives and communities. 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 email@example.com.