What is Night Church?

A sacred space…

We saw a need for a place that says “you’re safe here!” and that speaks, somehow, of the life of God. The need seemed to be for a place where all were welcome, and where there was no agenda other than to be sensitive to the voice of God.

…where everyone…

Night Church is for people from any socio-economic background – there simply is no clear demographic, other than that self-selected by those with a propensity to be in the city on a Saturday night (typically those on a “night-out”). This includes the homeless, business-people, the poor, the wealthy, the vulnerable, the weak, the strong, revellers, addicts, stag/hen parties. There are those who we see once and probably never again, and those who return and even start to develop a sense of “belonging”.

…is welcome

Night Church serves a practical need, in providing safety and shelter. Yet so do many other places – this doesn’t make it remotely unique. Rather, it provides a place which, without passing judgement, stands in stark contrast to the general ethos of noise, instability and superficiality prevalent (but by no means universal!) within the city’s night-culture. It provides a place for people to grieve, to laugh, to ask questions, to re-discover a language to speak of things hitherto hidden deep below the surface.


At Night 

At night, Shepherds scampered down the hillside in search of a place of hope and promise,
At night, Nicodemus consumed by questions left his home in search of some answers,
At night, Jacob wrestled with his doubts and his fears until it was dawn,
At night, Jesus found himself alone, deserted by all his friends,
At night, the Israelites wandered in the desert longing for somewhere to call home.

A lot happens in the darkness.

Chester at night is a place of laughter and noise, of vibrancy and chaos, of community and conflict,
At night, a woman cries as she recalls how her mother, now racked with cancer, has weeks to live,
At night, a young man enters Night Church to enquire whether as a Muslim he is welcome,
At night, a man too drunk and too sick to get home is left by friends who head off to dance,
At night, a woman in the depths of depression wonders how she will live another day,
At night, a man addicted to heroin sits quietly, he has lost everything and is dreading Christmas.

A lot happens in the darkness.

And through these night time encounters, I find myself transformed;
by people’s vulnerability, courage, questions and needs.
I feel something of our common humanity; for I too need places
where regardless of my beliefs, my doubts, my addictions and my pain,
I am accepted and loved.

A lot happens in the darkness.

Open the doors wide – move along a little – make some space;
for there are many more to be invited,
and so many people are still left outside.
Stand at the door and welcome them in – there is plenty of room.


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